Massa full of hope for life after Ferrari

Fri Oct 11, 2013 4:48pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Felipe Massa was Formula One world champion for 40 seconds in 2008, before Lewis Hamilton snatched the title away, but even as he prepares to say farewell to Ferrari the little Brazilian has not given up hope of a second chance.

Looking back over his eight seasons racing for the most successful and glamorous team on the grid, and the highs and lows of being a team mate to three world champions, Massa says he harbors no regrets.

Nor, with five races remaining and nothing fixed for his future, does the 32-year-old think his best days are necessarily behind him.

"I am a very happy man," he told British reporters at the Japanese Grand Prix, where last year he finished second to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel in his best result since that epic 2008 season.

"I have zero frustration in my career. I had an incredible career that I never believed I was going to have. And I am looking forward to getting even greater results and to fight still for victories and for the championship.

"I don't believe it is the time to stop yet. I believe in myself and I believe I can do a lot more and fight a lot more."

Massa is vying with Germany's Nico Hulkenberg for the Lotus seat left vacant by Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 champion who is returning to Ferrari in place of the Brazilian.

That team, which won titles as Benetton and Renault, are currently fourth overall with Raikkonen winning the Australian season-opener.   Continued...

Ferrari Formula One driver Felipe Massa of Brazil drives during the second practice session of the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit October 11, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato