Bottas praises ‘very underestimated’ Massa

Valtteri Bottas feels his Williams team-mate Felipe Massa, who announced his retirement from Formula One on Thursday at Monza, is “a very underestimated driver”.

The Finn has been partnered with the Brazilian since 2014, with the pair combining for 14 podiums over that span and helping Williams to finish third in the last two Constructors’ championships.

Massa has only scored two points since Canada while Bottas has amassed 33, in what has been a more challenging campaign for their British team. But the 27-year-old insists his team-mate’s speed is not in doubt.

“For sure he’s a very nice guy to work with,” Bottas said before Massa confirmed he was bowing out of F1. “He’s still fast, he’s a very underestimated driver. For sure he’s going through a tricky period now, but I respect him as a driver and a person. With his experience I could learn different things in different tracks driving wise.

“Our way of setting the cars up are a bit different, so from that side we didn’t change much, but I don’t think it’s always one way and if you ask him maybe in some areas he has also learned from me.”

When asked whether there were any news regarding his own F1 future, Bottas added: “Not yet, hopefully soon there will be. Hopefully very soon there will be progress.

“I’m quite confident about that, whether I’ll be allowed to tell you anything, that’s a different story.”

Massa currently has 11 wins, 16 pole positions and 41 podium finishes to his name. The Brazilian came tantalisingly close to winning the 2008 world championship while racing at Ferrari but ultimately lost out to McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

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