Felipe Massa’s F1 career in video

Felipe Massa scored his first F1 win at Istanbul in 2006

Felipe Massa scored his first F1 win at Istanbul in 2006

F1 Fanatic guest writer Journeyer reviews the career of the man who’s won three of the four Turkish Grands Prix – Felipe Massa.

While the Turkish Grand Prix is a relatively new addition to the calendar, one person has made the track his own – Felipe Massa. The young Brazilian had a rough start to Formula One, but took advantage of some big opportunities and is now one of the big names in the sport. Let’s look back at how he fought his way to the front of the grid.

2002: Massa first came onto F1′s radar when he won the Formula 3000 Euroseries. Peter Sauber, fresh from discovering hot-shoe Kimi Raikkonen, felt that he had found another great talent and signed him up to take Raikkonen’s seat.

But when Massa began his rookie season in F1, it looked as if Sauber may have made a big mistake. Felipe had decent pace (scoring a point in his second race in Malaysia), but was prone to too many errors and mistakes. This was one of those errors, pushing himself and Enrique Bernoldi onto the Ste Devote escape road – much as Sebastien Buemi did to Nelson Piquet Jnr this year!

Later, he became the first driver to receive a ten-place grid penalty, after causing an avoidable accident with Pedro de la Rosa at Monza.

2004: A year off for Felipe in 2003 saw him take the third driver role at Ferrari. Many believe that this year at Maranello did him a world of good, allowing him to refine his driving style under the tutelage of a certain Michael Schumacher.

This year saw him back at Sauber. He had a slow start to the year, as he was outclassed by Giancarlo Fisichella. But he started to show some real pace in the second half, finishing fourth at Spa and scoring regularly. He even pulled off this ambitious pass on Jacques Villeneuve at Suzuka.

2005: Indeed, it was Jacques who was Felipe’s Sauber team mate this year. He continued to show some prowess in terms of speed and wheel-to-wheel battling. He had some good defensive drives (notably fourth in Canada from Mark Webber in the Williams), but also had some gutsy passes, like this one on David Coulthard in San Marino.

2006: When Ferrari announced that Felipe Massa would take Rubens Barrichello’s seat for 2006, many assumed that it was on the grounds that Felipe would be Schumacher’s latest loyal ‘number two’ driver.

Massa himself admitted later that he always saw Schumacher as a mentor, rather than a competitor. His first win in Turkey came from a brilliant pole position, but many thought that he’d have to give up the win to Schumacher. Fernando Alonso kept Schumacher at bay, however, allowing Massa to score his first Grand Prix win.

At Interlagos, he had a brilliant run from pole, but just like Turkey, he’d have to give up the win to Schumacher if it would allow him to clinch the title from Alonso. But just like Istanbul, the call from the pits never came, and Massa pulled off something his predecessor Barrichello couldn’t. Massa was the first Brazilian to win at Interlagos since Ayrton Senna in 1993.

2007: Entering the post-Schumacher era, many assumed that Kimi Raikkonen would walk his way to the title, supported by Massa. At first, it didn’t seem that way. Early wins at Bahrain, then here in Spain, meant that Massa stayed close, and even overtook Raikkonen in the standings.

But Massa wasn’t able to win any further races (other than Turkey) and soon went out of contention. He ended his title hopes, in style, however, as he sparred with Robert Kubica at Fuji, using every bit of the track – and then some! Here’s an onboard from Massa of the entire battle.

2008: Last season was Massa’s strongest to date, with six wins (including one here in Turkey). Many didn’t expect him to be the one challenging Lewis Hamilton for the title. However, he dropped serious points at Malaysia (driver error), Hungary (engine failure), and Singapore (pit crew error).

Arriving home at Brazil for the season finale, Massa only had a small chance to take the title, but he took it – for half a minute or so. Witness one of the most shocking endings in Formula 1 history.

2009: It’s been a challenging season so far for Felipe this year. That would be especially true when you consider that the first thing people remember about him this year is: Felipe Baby.

So what does the rest of this season hold for Felipe Baby? Ferrari’s car has greatly improved since Malaysia, and may figure in this weekend’s race at Istanbul. While their chances at this year’s title are dim at best, Massa’s star continues to shine in Formula 1.

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38 comments on Felipe Massa’s F1 career in video

  1. Adam Tate said on 4th June 2009, 9:08

    Wonderful Keith! Massa is my favorite driver on the grid and this montage of his career goes a long way in showing that his success is justified by his talent. Plus he’s just such a nice and likable guy.

  2. AA said on 4th June 2009, 9:17

    He may be a nice and likeable guy, but I really think he is rubbish. I could be wrong, but I think he’s only ever one from pole, or certainly only from the front row. Dont rate him at all.

    • F1Rulz said on 4th June 2009, 11:01

      You can’t be rubbish if you win 11 times.

      • todd said on 4th June 2009, 11:08

        regardless of winning from pole or not, you still need talent to get pole – and keep it.

        would you call schumacher, alonso or senna rubbish if they qualified pole and won at every race? no – you’d call them world champions and the best there is for being so dominate.

    • ajokay said on 4th June 2009, 12:37

      I don’t rate him much either.

      • matt said on 4th June 2009, 13:14

        Me neither, although I’m not really sure why.

        • ajokay said on 4th June 2009, 14:16

          I don’t find him very likable in interviews, and he’s always very quick to blame everyone by himself or his car. I don’t consider him to be that great a driver either, And neither did Sauber after his first year.

          • matt said on 4th June 2009, 15:37

            I think I just find him a bit dull.

          • carldec said on 4th June 2009, 17:16

            I know what you mean. I have always thought that Massa was a second tier driver in a first tier car. He is competent when running in front but just doesn’t seem to have what it takes to do real battle with the likes of Alonso.

          • Senor Paz said on 4th June 2009, 22:59

            Ajokay,

            Please don’t talk plain rubbish. When did he ever criticise Ferrari or blame his car in any of the many times he’s had to abandon a race because of an engine failure or a dreadful pit crew mistake?

            I was actually quite surprised at the lack of complaints by Felipe in 2008. He had every reason to trash his team, but never once backstabbed the team.

          • ajokay said on 5th June 2009, 9:27

            I’m not talking plain rubbish, but i did allow a typo to slip through:

            and he’s always very quick to blame everyone but himself or his car

            That’s what I’m saying… he never blames himself or his car or pitcrew… it’s always somebody elses fault.

            It’s was Sutil’s fault that Massa almost drove out of the pit box into him last Valencia. It was Bourdais’ fault that massa drove into him at turn 1 in Fuji, etc etc etc.

  3. Journeyer said on 4th June 2009, 9:38

    Almost forgot:

    Felipe Baby was so massive, Christine from sidepodcast.com created a song about it. And that got pretty massive too. :D

    If you haven’t heard it yet, the song’s at:

    http://www.sidepodcast.com/2009/04/25/a-song-for-felipe-baby/

  4. Maks said on 4th June 2009, 10:04

    2 AA
    Totally ill-informed post, lol.
    Anyway, great story, Keith, tnx a lot! I think this time Felipe Baby ones more will be main contender for win in Turkey.

  5. That video of him losing the championship is fricken hilarious, love it when the Ferrari guy smashes something.

  6. todd said on 4th June 2009, 11:03

    hah look at button in the brazil video – up 11 places!

  7. persempre said on 4th June 2009, 11:13

    Hehehehe – A bit of a nightmare in his early days.
    Testing for Ferrari & working alongside Michael Schumacher ironed out those early wrinkles.
    He`s a genuinely nice guy. What you see is what you get. A real team player.
    He handled defeat with great dignity after last seasons disappointment.
    Incidentally, Felipe Baby should have a baby of his own in November.

  8. PJA said on 4th June 2009, 11:24

    Personally I rate Massa as good but not a great driver. He has improved each season and proved many of his doubters wrong in the process.

    I know we don’t get to see behind the scenes for all drivers, but from what we have seen for Massa I get the impression that he sometimes needs more managing by the team than other drivers, such as the Felipe Baby moment.

    • Dougie said on 4th June 2009, 12:21

      Personally I rate Massa as good but not a great driver.

      So Hamilton, apparantely the BEST driver in F1, apparantely, was almost beaten to the Championship by someone who was merely a good driver. Someone that in the same car totally out raced the current World Champion of the time, and a Champion who is universally agreed to be the fastest on the grid and a great driver.

      Massa missed the championship due to the failure of his team in critical phases of the championship… failures that cost him 10′s of points… oh, and the FIA apparantely gave him 4 extra points, but personally I agree with that decision.

      Hamilton lost points mostly, argueably 100% of the time, through his own mistakes.

    • Senor Paz said on 4th June 2009, 23:06

      I love it how some people take the whole ‘Felipe baby’ thing in the sense that he needs pampering and attention like a child… It’s quite funny how shallow people’s perceptions can be, instead of looking at the record.

      I just see it as… well, Rob is a hilarious guy! ‘Felipe baby’ was excellent, but ‘who’s the daddy of Brazil’ after Q3 last year was priceless.

      • PJA said on 5th June 2009, 13:31

        What I thought was going on in Malaysia with the ‘Felipe baby’ comment was that Massa was getting himself worked up about his visor and Rob was simply trying to calm him down, and he just worded it in a very entertaining way. The baby bit was the same as others might say ‘dude’ or ‘man’. I didn’t think he was implying Massa was a baby.

        Another incident that gave me the impression that Massa sometimes needs more managing was in Q1 at Monaco when he knocked his car’s nose off, after it was repaired he didn’t go out again straight away to get a time on the board as you would expect. The BBC said Ferrari were keeping him in the pits for a while to calm him down before sending him out again.

        Like I said this kind of thing may happen to a lot more drivers, but we just don’t get to hear about it.

  9. GooddayBruce said on 4th June 2009, 12:55

    Lots of going “off track and gaining an advantage” in Fuji there. Maybe the Stewards couldn’t see through the spray.

    I really like Felipe Baby – he just keeps getting better and better doesn’t he?

  10. I just cant believe that my “rubbish theory” was right about Felipe been dominant at Turkey because of anti-clockwise circuit. Look what he said about it in his blog at the Ferrari site:

    “I just like the track and feel comfortable there, but it’s hard to pinpoint why it suits me better than some other circuits. I do prefer fast flowing tracks and have a feel for all the corners here, as it’s not good enough to only be fast over one particular section of the track. I think I’ve also found a good way to set up the car perfectly for this circuit. It’s not just Turkey though, as I’ve won in Brazil for the last two years and actually, it should have been the last three in my home race. In fact, it’s been suggested to me that maybe the reason is that they are the only two anti-clockwise circuits on the calendar. Who knows? Maybe I’m better than others at driving through left handed corners!”

    Another point: again, Ferrari has made a reference about Lewis strategy last year:

    This year, given how competitive the front of the field is in qualifying, it is going to be a very interesting Saturday afternoon, but at least the track does provide some passing opportunities, especially with the long main straight. Last year, Lewis (Hamilton) changed his strategy to a three stop and was easily able to pass me.

    Felipe Massa at his blog

    And in Ferrari race briefing:

    “Last year, it seemed that Felipe would have to settle for second place, as Lewis Hamilton had a comfortable lead going into the last stint of the race. However, it soon became clear that the Englishman’s pace was down to the fact he was on a three stop refuelling strategy and so when he came down pit lane for the final time, Felipe found himself in the lead. Having started from fourth place on the grid, Kimi joined his team-mate on the podium, in third place.”

    Ferrari´s race briefing

    They could go for it on Sunday:

  11. str8guy said on 4th June 2009, 14:38

    Excellent Article Journeyer ( yes Journeyer .. Not Keith !!! ) lol

    The 2nd part of the 2008 finale vid is just class! :)

  12. TommyB said on 4th June 2009, 15:04

    Wow I miss the days of Alonso vs Schumacher. That Turkey race was amazing. Shame we aren’t going to see a fight like that this year.

    That music on Brazil 2006 is so cheesy and old!!! So funny. “Felipe, Felipe, Felipe, Felipe Massa from Brassssssssil!!!!!!!!”

  13. carldec said on 4th June 2009, 18:44

    My wife calls him “flippy the porch monkey”. I am not sure why…. She just hates the guy and wont even watch his interviews.

  14. Paul said on 4th June 2009, 18:50

    As JV once quipped about Massa: At the beginning of his career at Sauber, he couldn’t even go fast in a straight line without crashing. (paraphrase)

    Things have changed. Massa is dead freaking quick. Pound for pound, one of the fastest guys you will see in F1. Sometimes he’s too quick. You introduce rain and it’s rarely pretty for him. Usually mediocre at best. You have someone scrapping with him for position, and he is liable to screw up. Before 2008 he had the nasty habit of only winning at tracks with significant Ferrari advantages.

    2008 changed that, really. He had a flawed campaign and lost by one point, but he looked just as deserving as Hamilton. Take this with Kimi’s sudden lack of form in 2008 and you have a driver at the top of the grid. I think he’ll contend again.

    He’s fast as all hell.

  15. Svlad Cjelli said on 4th June 2009, 19:31

    Massa: Average driver. Doesn’t say much then for Raikkonen!

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