Felipe Massa and Jenson Button had completely different outcomes in the final race for both Formula 1 veterans.
Massa battled in the opening laps with teammate Valtteri Bottas, swapping ninth and 10th a few times. Bottas, however, retired from the race on the 11th lap with rear suspension issues and Massa was left to carry the banner for Williams.
He didn’t make much noise in the race hanging out the back half of the top-10 all day. He brought his car home to a ninth-place finish in his final Formula 1 start.
“To be honest, I feel really happy. I feel proud that I was fighting to the last lap in the same way I was fighting my first lap in my career. I’m really happy for the result for my race today and I am definitely emotional for this moment, but proud for everything I did.
“I’m really happy and I thank all of you guys that was supporting me.”
He also took time to congratulate Nico Rosberg on winning the championship.
“I cannot forget Nico and that he won the championship. He’s a nice story. Looking at his father (Keke Rosberg), was a champion. He’s a champion now. He really deserves the championship.
“I’m really happy for him.”
The 15-year journeyman veteran retires with 11 wins, 41 podiums and 250 career starts.
He reflected on his career and what he was proudest of achieving.
“Well I’m proud of my career. I’m proud of everything I managed to achieve. Manage to get a lot of dreams, a lot of results, a lot of incredible things….But I am also proud that I always respected people and I feel a lot of respect, and I think that’s a really amazing feeling.”
The team gave Massa the car he drove at Brazil, which was the same car he drove in today’s race, as a parting gift.
It was the polar opposite race for one half of the McLaren-Honda stable.
Driving over the curb at turn 9, the right-front tire of Button’s car caved in, damaging the steering and forcing an early retirement on the 13th lap in what was possibly his final race.
In his post-race interview, Will Buxton of NBC said to him “it wasn’t supposed to end like this.”
“Well it’s tricky [about how it’s supposed to end (a bit indiscernible)]. I should’ve won, but I don’t think that was in the cards so I thought I’d retire early,” Button said tongue in cheek and everyone laughed.
“It doesn’t matter. I said before on social media that this result means nothing. It’s about having fun. It’s about enjoying all the emotions with friends and family and the team and Formula 1 as a whole and fans. I’ve done that. It’s just finished a little bit early, but I can celebrate with the fans when I get out of the car, which is awesome.
“McLaren’s don’t fail. We don’t have failures. It’s the weirdest thing, but maybe it happened for a reason. I’m going to go enjoy the rest of this day, my last day as an F1 driver. Well, I’m not anymore actually (takes off McLaren hat), and have a jolly good time this evening with friends and family who I love very much.”
The 2009 world champion, while still under contract with McLaren, steps away from active competition with 15 wins and 50 podiums to his credit.
He was asked if he reflected on what he’s done in his career.
“Yeah, last night was amazing with and the friends and family. I had a long day reminiscing and filmed it with a camera, which is a bit dangerous. I hope they lose that camera.
“But yeah, lot’s of reminiscing and so many special moments, tough moments as well. But also great ones. Finishing early today is not a negative. I just take it for what it is. I get to see these guys sooner rather than later and I’m just celebrating what’s been a very long career.”