Massa Gets a Sauber after Sixth Place

Felipe Massa has been handed one of his Sauber cars as a parting gift from team boss Peter Sauber after finishing sixth in the Chinese Grand Prix

Massa Gets a Sauber after Sixth Place

The Brazilian's gamble in deciding to stay out during the second Safety Car period paid off handsomely as it enabled him to build up enough of a cushion in the latter stages of the race to secure three points in Sauber's last Formula One race.

And although Peter Sauber had offered Massa and teammate Jacques Villeneuve a car if they finished on the podium, Massa's performance was good enough to please the team boss.

Massa said: "The car was much better than I expected. The turning point of the race was when we decided to stay out when the second Safety Car period began.

"But on the restart I really had to push massively hard to open out enough of an advantage to make a later stop. I had flat-spotted the left front tyre and that lost me a lot of grip, but towards the end I had no trouble keeping Webber behind me.

"After I crossed the line Peter promised me a car for finishing sixth, so I'm really glad I didn't have to give it up! On a more serious note, it was a wonderful way to thank Peter and this great team and to finish the World Championship and the history of the Sauber era. For me, P6 was as good as a podium today."

Villeneuve had a more frustrating time as he lost positions in both Safety Car periods - and was very lucky to avoid getting caught up in Narain Karthikeyan's spectacular accident.

"I was unlucky because I lost out in both safety car incidents," said the former world champion. "On each restart I had trouble getting heat into the front tyres. But later on I was very lucky to avoid getting involved in Karthikeyan's accident.

"I saw smoke everywhere and thought he would come back across towards me, which he did. I just missed him and the nose of his car, which had become detached, but I did hit some debris. After that I had good clean fights with Monteiro and Trulli. It's frustrating because we ran low downforce and were quick on the straight, and overall our pace was good today."

Team boss Sauber claimed that his final race in charge was charged with emotion.

"This was one of the most emotional days of my time in Formula One, for both myself and for the team," he said. "It was a very exciting race with a happy ending.

"I want to thank everyone on the team for doing an excellent job today and over the past 13 years, and all our fans back home in Switzerland and around the world for the unfailing support we have enjoyed so much during our memorable time in Formula One."

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