Why Felipe Massa's retirement should be a bigger deal than Jenson Button's

Jenson Button's retirement looms large this weekend and fans everywhere prepare to mourn the loss of a true character from Formula One.

But the Brit isn't the only driver who says the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be his last in motorsport's premier competition - Brazil's Felipe Massa is also on his way out of the door after 14 years in F1.

With a wealth of experience and some golden moments behind him, is it the loss of the Williams driver we should really be mourning?

He's more consistent

Massa with Brazilian flag
(Paulo Whitaker/AP)

While it is true Massa has no driver's championship to his name - one behind Button, who won with one-hit-wonder team Brawn in 2009 - his overall performance has been more consistent than the Brit's.

Massa has never come lower than 13th in the standings while button has come lower than that five times - the lowest being 18th. Meanwhile the Brazilian has finished in the top eight in 69% of his completed seasons, compared with 53% from Button.

Plus in this, his last, season Massa sits four places above Button going into the final race, in 11th - you know what they say, go out on a high.

His race stats are all about speed

Massa leads Button

While it is true Button has four more GP wins and nine more podiums than Massa, the Brazilian has had two less seasons in F1 - and he still beats Button in some key race statistics.

With 16 Massa has twice as many pole positions than Button, meanwhile he has had 15 fastest laps in his career compared with only eight from Button.

Massa and Button smiling
(Luca Bruno/AP)

It's all about that consistency again too, as Massa managed to get on the podium in 69% of his completed seasons, compared with only 42% for Button.


He did all this and cheated death

Massa in car
(Rui Vieira/PA)

In July 2009 Massa's career - at something of a high having finished in the top third, fourth then second in the previous three seasons - very nearly came to a tragic end.

Though protected by his helmet, Massa suffered a life-threatening head injury after a spring which fell off Rubens Barrichello's Brawn car struck him at high speed.

A spring similar to the one which hit Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa
(Petr David Josek/AP)

Despite the gruesome injury Massa recovered more quickly than expected, managing to return to racing the following season eight months after the accident. Amazingly Massa managed to come sixth that season.

He's dealt with emotional turmoil too

(Oliver Multhaup/AP)

Only the season before that, in 2008, Massa endured the ultimate heartbreak.

Seven points behind the championship leader - a young Lewis Hamilton - Massa knew going into the final race he needed to win or come second and Hamilton had to finish outside the top five and he would win the season.

As Massa crossed the finishing line in first position, having qualified on pole, he believed he had won the championship, as Hamilton had made a mistake and was currently in sixth place. But in the ultimate cruel twist of fate, for the Brazilian at least, Hamilton managed to pass fifth placed Timo Glock on the second to last corner to snatch the championship from under Massa's nose - by one point.

(Oliver Multhaup/AP)

Oh and this was all at the Brazilian GP - in front of his home crowd!

But he's still the nicest guy in F1

Hamilton and Massa
(Rob Griffith/AP)

We hear many of you cooing, saying "but no Button is so nice" - we've got news for you, Massa out-nices our smiley Brit.

After Hamilton's last-ditch victory in 2008 Massa said he wanted to meet with the young Brit to congratulate him personally, saying: "I want to meet Hamilton and his father to tell them they deserved the title."

Hamilton and Massa

What's more his fellow drivers have paid tribute to the Brazilian since he announced his retirement.

"He's a really nice guy, really funny," said Sebastian Vettel. "It's a shame to see that he quits because he will be missed."

Massa and Vettel
(Antonio Calanni/AP)

His teammate Valterri Bottas said "For sure he is a very nice guy to work with, and he is still fast, a very underestimated driver."

You may have noticed a theme from some of the photos in this article also - Button likes Massa too.

Button and Massa
(Mark Baker/AP)

There is a wealth of photos that show these two getting along, and we think the outgoing Briton would be more than happy for his Brazilian counterpart to steal a bit of his retirement spotlight - just for a moment at least.

Button and Massa
(Yves Logghe/AP)

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