MASSA FEELS THE LOVE: Felipe Massa said that he is surprised by the overwhelming support he received following his retirement announcement. Image: AP / Wong Maye-E
Brazil - Felipe Massa says he has been heartened by the reaction to his decision to retire from Formula 1 at the end of 2016.
The 35-year-old Brazilian made his debut in 2002 and won 11 races for Ferrari and came close to clinching the 2008 title, but at Monza he announced that after three seasons with Williams he will call it a day in late November.
Massa told Brazil's UOL Esporte: "I have felt a respect and a very great affection from all over the world after the announcement. I was even a little surprised. I am very happy with the messages I received, both from fans and the people who worked with me throughout my career.
"I was even a little surprised."
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Massa also said he is satisfied with his 15-year F1 career, which will tick over to 250 starts once the final race of the 2016 season commences in Abu Dhabi.
Massa concludedL "There are 22 drivers in F1, but not many who managed to stay 15 years and be as successful as I could."