It was a bit of a crazy weekend in Monza and no, I’m not talking about the race. Sadly that was won in the case of Nico Rosberg, and lost in the case of Lewis Hamilton, within the space of about twenty metres at the start. An inconsistency with Hamilton’s clutch which wasn’t his fault, saw him get swallowed up by, first his team mate, then the two Ferraris and finally Valteri Bottas in the Williams. Game over, despite Hamilton’s best efforts.
No, it’s a race that will long be forgotten I’m afraid. Monza may be the Temple of Speed, but there was little to worship from the 53 laps, although Daniel Ricciardo’s lunge down the inside on Valteri Bottas was the sort of overtake that was an answer to all our prayers at that stage. A sensational move from the Australian. It was what happened away from the track that captured our attention.
Thursday at 1.45pm and the Williams motorhome was packed out with cameras and journalists as Felipe Massa sat centre stage, his family on hand, to deliver an emotional speech announcing his retirement. Was it a surprise? Not really. To be honest the thought of this being Felipe’s last season has been prominent in the mind and the subject of Paddock chatter for some time now. After 14 seasons in the sport his form this year, even after scoring in the first 6 races, had done little to suggest that Williams would keep him after his contract expires in November.
Which isn’t to say that Felipe isn’t a top driver, he is and certainly he has been over the years. A world champion for all of 15 seconds on that epic afternoon at Interlagos, he’s experienced it all in the sport and will be missed on many levels when he walks away. That Williams allowed him the dignity to announce the decision on his terms said much about the team’s compassion towards their driver, and they should be applauded as loudly as the hand clapping that erupted, spontaneously, from those present as Felipe finished his final thank you.