Former F1 Driver Felipe Massa Details Why Fernando Alonso and Not Michael Schumacher Was His Toughest Teammate

Published 11/23/2020, 1:20 PM EST
Williams’ Felipe Massa of Brazil carries his country’s flag after he had to withdraw from the race due to car problems during the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Interlagos race track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. (Paulo Whitaker/Pool via AP)


Felipe Massa has driven against some of the most elite drivers in the world of F1. And he’s had a few of these as ‘teammates’ as well. When one talks about teammates in Formula 1, the meaning isn’t literal. Actually, it is quite the opposite.

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When it comes to success on the paddock, so much depends on the car that sometimes the driver winning the title is not the best driver.

Hence, often, the accurate barometer of proving one’s driving abilities is their battle with the guy on the other side of the garage. Equipped with equal machinery, the two try, by any means necessary, to outperform each other.

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Felipe Massa thinks Alonso was more of a ‘rival’

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Fernando Alonso is interviewed FIA/Handout via REUTERS

The Brazilian can boast of an illustrious set of drivers as his teammates. That list includes former World Champions – Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Jacques Villeneuve, and Kimi Raikkonen.

He considers the multiple title winners, Alonso and Schumacher, as the tougher of the lot, and understandably so. And when asked, who was the tougher of the two, he said,

“For me, it is Alonso. Schumacher only ran with me for a year, he was like the teacher, he didn’t have that rivalry that I had with Alonso for so many years together.

“It was a competition of many years and frankly, it was more difficult, although it is also true that they were different situations.”

It’s easy to fathom why he picked Alonso over Schumacher. The German wasn’t at the peak by the time Massa came to Ferrari in 2006. Hence he was a ‘mentor’ in his eyes, whereas Alonso was still in his prime.

The fact that the Brazilian driver had to be the ‘second driver’ to his Spanish counterpart says it all.

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Who is the better driver in Massa’s eyes?

However, when it comes to picking the better racer of the two, his conscience is clear, “As a pilot, I would say, Schumacher, clearly.

“It is true that Fernando did not have as many competitive cars as Michael, but Schumacher won seven championships and won in 91 races. Numbers are important and that makes a difference.”

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In the end, that is what counts against Fernando’s legacy. Some believe that he should have won more Drivers’ Championships than 2.

But the good thing for him is that the chance to add to that tally isn’t over yet. Since he’s returning next season, maybe he will win another one and bolster the legacy that he leaves in the sport.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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