Sunday’s very wet Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix ended in sadness for the nation’s favorite driver. Brazilian Williams driver Felipe Massa, who is retiring this year, spun out into the wall on the slippery track, but was cheered on and thanked by legions of fans, track workers and other teams anyway.
Two-time Brazilian Grand Prix winner Massa was the latest driver to lose it along the pit straight on lap 48, clipping the slippery inside line and spinning into the wall. You can see dark grey cloud of spray that envelops the track whenever you’re behind other F1 cars.
This was no ordinary retirement, though. It was a pre-retirement retirement, which meant that Massa spent some time waving to his home crowd with the Brazilian flag draped around his shoulders.
Massa visibly teared up at his warm reception, pausing periodically to wipe tears from his eyes. Marshals teared up who were watching him walk back in.
This was Massa’s 249th race in Formula One after a long history of being one of the series’ most beloved supporting characters.
In addition to saluting his fans, Massa also traveled down pit lane for heartfelt hugs and farewells from teams whose crews came out to greet him, including Massa’s longtime crew at Ferrari. His family came out of the Williams garage as well.
Yo, who’s cutting onions in here? Can you knock that off?
Massa went to the medical center afterwards because the hit registered strong enough forces to mandate a visit, per Williams. No further update has been given, however, the team describes it as a precautionary measure.
At the end of the race, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton—complete with an Ayrton Senna tribute helmet—drove home to an easy first-ever Brazilian Grand Prix win out in front, where he only had to contend with spray from backmarkers. This is Hamilton’s 52nd F1 win, giving him the second-highest number of wins in the sport of all time.
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg finished second, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in third, who had dropped back after a late pit stop. No amount of ballsy moves could get Verstappen back around Rosberg in time. Rosberg still leads the drivers’ championship, but Hamilton’s win cuts that lead down to 12 points. Once again, the drivers’ championship will be decided between two Mercs at Abu Dhabi.