Formula 1


Felipe Massa: A look back at his F1 career

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This week the news many people had been expecting finally became reality as Felipe Massa revealed he would be leaving Ferrari at the end of the season.

The Brazilian will end an eight-year career at the Italian team, the second longest stay behind the man he partnered on arrival back in 2006, Michael Schumacher.

In that time Massa scored 11 wins and came oh so-close to winning the 2008 world champion indeed he was champion for 30 seconds before Lewis Hamilton passed Timo Glock at the final corner on the final lap in Brazil to steal it away.

With Massa announcing his departure from Ferrari lets look back at the career of the 32-year old from Sao Paulo.

Massa came through Ferrari's young driver academy first arriving in F1 as a race driver for Sauber in 2002, he scored four points in his rookie season scoring a best of fifth at the Spanish Grand Prix.

For 2003 he moved to Ferrari as reserve driver before making the move back to Sauber for 2004. That year he had a number of good performances scoring 12 points with a best of fourth at the Belgian Grand Prix.

He was retained for 2005 scoring a number of points finishes with another fourth, this time in Canada, his best result.

With Rubens Barrichello leaving Ferrari for Honda for 2006, the Scuderia was left looking for a replacement to join Michael Schumacher for what would turn out to be his final year.

Massa was the man they chose and the then 24-year old Brazilian had his big break.

He had a very successful year scoring seven podiums as well as his first two wins in F1, the Turkish and Brazilian Grand Prix's, becoming the first Brazilian since Ayrton Senna to win his home race.

With Michael Schumacher's departure the Brazilian was joined by Kimi Raikkonen for 2007, the Finn moving over from McLaren.

Massa continued to impress scoring three wins, including his second in Istanbul and relinquished a second home win in Brazil to allow Raikkonen to claim the championship from Lewis Hamilton.

2008 however was all about Massa at Ferrari, the Brazilian scored six wins and was five points behind Hamilton heading into the title decider in Brazil.

The locals put on a carnival atmosphere and Massa didn't disappoint putting in a flawless drive in the mixed conditions to claim victory, Hamilton however was having struggles and as the late rain arrived he fell behind Sebastian Vettel with four laps to go, with Hamilton unable to get back past the German it looked as if Massa would become world champion and as he crossed the finish line he was with Hamilton still 6th.

However in a cruel twist of luck the rain had slowed down the Toyota of Timo Glock, who was still on dry tyres, just enough for Hamilton to catch him in the final corner of the race to reclaim fifth and the world championship.

That gruelling 2008 put both McLaren and Ferrari out of position at the start of the 2009 season, as the car was updated the performances began to improve but the moment that would mark Massa's career happened during qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Following Rubens Barrichello's Brawn GP car a spring fell off the Brazilian's car and flew into the helmet of Massa knocking him unconscious and sending him crashing into the wall at around 150mph.

Many feared for Massa life after the crash after sustaining severe head injuries however he would recover and return to racing for 2010.

From that moment on, and the arrival of Fernando Alonso as team-mate, Massa was never the same driver playing second fiddle to Alonso. He was still putting in solid points finishes but he was not in the fight for wins.

As he form worsened particularly at the start of the 2012 season, many felt it was time for Massa to leave Ferrari. While he was kept on for 2013 the inability to fight consistently has meant he will leave at the end of the season.

So where will he go from here? Earlier this year Massa had indicated it was Ferrari or bust however he is being linked to other teams including a return to Sauber, however I would not be surprised to see him leave F1 and race in a different category.

If he should it would mark the end of an incredible 11 year career in the sport and certainly one he can be proud of.

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