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F1 NEWS 

Di Montezemolo says Massa was his choice

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has declared that it was his own personal choice to extend Felipe Massa's contract until the end of 2010.

The announcement of Massa's extended deal was greeted with surprise in some quarters as there had been rumours that Fernando Alonso would go to Ferrari either next season or in 2009 should he part company with McLaren.

Di Montezemolo offered effusive praise for Alonso earlier this week, but at a Fiat board of directors meeting at Maranello today he insisted that he was completely happy with his current driver line-up - and had been personally responsible for Massa's re-signing.

"With all the respect for the other drivers, I won't change my drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa with anyone else. They are the best in the world," he was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Raikkonen came, won the first race and then won the championship. I don't see what more could be asked of him.

"Felipe Massa, despite being young, had more pole positions than anyone, he's strong and loyal, and it's not by chance that I personally decided to renew his contract until 2010.

"Raikkonen is unique, loyal, very dedicated to his job. I will give him a prize, not in money as that is already agreed in the contract, but a gift."

Ferrari top brass had praised Massa's loyalty in Brazil after he took the second place that ensured Raikkonen could clinch the drivers' title. The Brazilian had led the majority of the race before falling behind his teammate at the final pitstops.

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