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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.