x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Massa wants to say well done to rival Hamilton

Felipe Massa wants to meet up with world champion Lewis Hamilton and pass on his congratulations personally to the Briton.

Felipe Massa, left, wants to personally pass his congratulations on to the new world champion Lewis Hamilton, right.
Felipe Massa, left, wants to personally pass his congratulations on to the new world champion Lewis Hamilton, right.

Felipe Massa wants to meet up with world champion Lewis Hamilton and pass on his congratulations personally to the Briton following his title success on Sunday in Brazil. The Brazilian, who missed out on the title by a single point to Hamilton during a thrilling finale in Sao Paulo, did not get a chance to talk to his rival after the race.

But the Ferrari driver is now keen to meet up with the McLaren-Mercedes man as soon as possible. "I want to meet Hamilton and his dad to tell them they deserved the title," he told the Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy. Despite missing out on the world championship Massa can be proud of a season that saw him win six races and comfortably outscore his teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who ultimately made a limp defence of the championship that he had won a year ago.

That view is backed up by the seven-times world champion Michael Schumacher, who was full of praise for his former teammate's driving in Brazil and throughout the season, and backed him to challenge for the title again next year. The German, who is an adviser for the Ferrari team, said: "Felipe can leave that race with his head up, as with this performance he surely has convinced all the people who still had doubts about his driving skills. He will for sure attack again next year."

Meanwhile, the McLaren boss Ron Dennis backed Hamilton to go on and win more championships after clinching his maiden title. "The chance of the momentum fading [in his career] is very slim," said Dennis. "But he has to have the car, and it is our intention to give it to him, so at the moment I can see no reason why the momentum of his career is going to falter. "As has been apparent this year, he has become even more mature in and out of the car, and the experience gained from this title win is another stepping stone in his career.

"He is going to be very successful in his life, not only in racing, but as a human being because he is a thoroughly nice guy. What you see is what you get." He added of the pressure that had been on Lewis in the build-up to the climax of the season: "It has been great to see him with such a big smile on his face." "There was such a lot of distraction over the weekend, but most of it we were able to keep away from him.

"But I think the most difficult thing in the world is to drive a grand prix car having to avoid every single mistake. "In the end the outcome was storybook. A fantastic outcome to a difficult season." The former McLaren driver Fernando Alonso is expected to re-sign with the Renault team for next season today after a strong end to the season that saw him win in Singapore and Japan. * Agencies