Button and Massa bid Formula One farewell

All smiles: Jenson Button of McLaren Honda and Felipe Massa of Williams take a selfie on the drivers parade during this year's Formula One Grand Prix of Italy in Monza. Picture: Getty Images

All smiles: Jenson Button of McLaren Honda and Felipe Massa of Williams take a selfie on the drivers parade during this year's Formula One Grand Prix of Italy in Monza. Picture: Getty Images

While the focus of attention last weekend in Abu Dhabi was on the battle for World Championship honours between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, two of the sport’s most popular drivers were making their final appearance as Grand Prix drivers.

British driver Jensen Button called time on a 16-year career in Formula One.

This stellar career began in 2000 with the Williams team when he was just twenty years old, and ended after 305 starts spanning seven different teams.

Back in August, Button had told McLaren Honda boss Ron Dennis that this would be his last year, and the plan was that the 36-year-old would take a sabbatical in 2017 with a view to maybe coming back in 2018.

As time went by Button decided that he didn’t really want to continue in F1, and so last Sunday was his last F1 race.

Unfortunately his swan song didn’t end well.

The car was forced to retire with front suspension failure.

During his F1 career Button scored 15 wins, 50 podiums and eight pole positions.

His most successful season was, without doubt, 2009 when he won six of the first seven races and went onto claim the World Championship in the Brawn GP car.

Button, who was awarded an MBE in the 2010 Queens New Years honours list, has indicated he may compete in the future in some other category.

Brazilian Felipe Massa started in F1 in 2002 with Sauber before moving to Ferrari in 2006 as team mate to Michael Schumacher. 

During the next eight years at Ferrari he scored 11 wins with the first in Turkey in 2006, and the last in Brazil in 2008.

In the 2008 season, Massa scored six wins and was only seven points behind Lewis Hamilton for the championship going into the final race in Brazil. 

The equation was that Massa had to win with Hamilton finishing outside the top five.

On the final lap, with Massa in the lead, Hamilton was sixth and when Massa crossed the line first he thought he had won the championship only to find that Hamilton had scrambled past Timo Glock on the second last corner to finish fifth.

Hamilton won the title by one point.

In 2009 Massa was seriously hurt during practice for the Hungarian GP when he was hit on the helmet by a suspension component from a preceding car, an injury that caused him to miss the remainder of the season.

Apart from his wins, Massa also stood on the podium another 30 times and such was the affection of the Williams team, who he drove for since 2014, that they gave him his GP car as a memento of his career in the sport.

Both will be missed.

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