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Colleagues pay tribute to Massa after retirement news

02 Sep 2016

Following his announcement that he will retire at the end of the season, the universally popular Felipe Massa was relaxed and cheerful with his wife Raffaela and son Felipinho in Monza on Thursday, and the Williams driver drew praise from many of his rivals.

Former Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen said: “Obviously it’s a big shame, but this is his choice in the end. We had a good relationship when we were in the same team and obviously he has had some difficult moments in F1, with the accident, but he’s been strong always and he’s a very nice guy. So, life goes on, and I’m sure he made the right choice for himself, so hopefully he has a good end to his F1 career.”

Raikkonen’s current team mate Sebastian Vettel added: “He’s a really nice guy, really funny. It’s a shame to see that he quits because he will be missed. Obviously I wish him all the best for whatever he decides to do in the future. I think apart from the talent and speed he has on the track, as I said, he’s a great guy and very easy-going and he will be missed.”

McLaren’s Jenson Button, who has raced against Massa since the Brazilian came into F1 in 2002, said: “It’s always a strange feeling when someone retires from the sport that’s achieved so much, so many victories, and being so close as well to a world championship. But we all have our own reasons. I think it’s a brave decision but he’s chosen to retire so it’s definitely the right one.”

And from the younger end of the grid, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz - who celebrated his 22nd birthday on Thursday - said: “From my personal side I remember meeting him for the first time in 2005. I think I was 10-11 years old. He was really kind to me and was my hero Formula One driver. He was very funny, very kind to me and since then I’ve had lots of respect for him.

“Five minutes before coming here I went to give him a hug, wish him all the best and I’m sure he’ll have a good life from now on.”

Eleven-time Grand Prix winner Massa is set to compete in his 250th and final F1 race in Abu Dhabi in November.