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Felipe Massa: Better to retire and have pit lane send-off

Clive Mason/Getty Images

Felipe Massa admits it was better his final Brazilian Grand Prix ended in retirement as it resulted in his emotionally-charged send-off in the pit lane.

Massa crashed out at the final corner while running out of the points on lap 48. The positioning of his damaged car meant Massa, by this point carrying a Brazilian flag over his shoulder, received a standing ovation as he walked back to the pits in full view of the packed grandstands.

On arrival to the pit lane -- which had been briefly closed as his crash had prompted a safety car deployment -- Massa, by this point wiping back the tears, was given a guard of honour by mechanics at Mercedes and former team Ferrari while being embraced by his wife and son.

Asked about the moment after the race, Massa told Sky Sports: "I was a little bit sad because I wanted to finish the race in the best way for them. Unfortunately I couldn't, but yeah, I think maybe it was better like that. For me it was definitely very special."

"This is so special a place for me, but I think god knows what to do... I just mean stopping in the place [I did] was so special and so amazing the feeling from the people here in Brazil and from the people here in the paddock, everybody that I worked for, for a very long time in my career."

When asked about the guard of honour given to him in the pit lane, Massa said the moment will live with him for a long time.

"It is difficult to explain the feeling. So special to see these guys in the middle of the race going out just to see me passing after such a big crash. Not the right result, but thank-you very much. I will never forget this day and all of these people and all of you guys will be inside my heart definitely for all of my life."

Massa will compete in his 250th and last grand prix at the season finale in Abu Dhabi. He announced his retirement at the Italian Grand Prix, ending an F1 career that started with Sauber in 2002.