Felipe Massa lifts lid on close Michael Schumacher relationship

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Felipe Massa has admitted he had a “close” relationship with Michael Schumacher when the pair were team-mates at Ferrari. The Brazilian stressed he “learned a lot” about the sport after working with the seven-time world champion.

He reveals he was “lucky” to have had the opportunity to work closely with the F1 legend despite their partnership lasting just one year. Speaking to Polish site Swiat Wyscigow, Massa said: “It was great. I mean, it was a great experience.

“It was a great time to be able to be teammates with Michael Schumacher. I learned a lot from him. He was an amazing driver. The way he was working… We were very close as well. In the end I was lucky to be part of that experience.”

Massa replaced fellow Brazilian Rubens Barichello at the Scuderia for 2006 after his Sauber deal expired. The younger won two races in his first season in the team with victories in Turkey and Brazil.

Massa finished behind Schumacher 13 times across the campaign but improved his form later on in the season. The Brazilian managed to bear his experienced team-mate three times across the last five races to set him up for 2007.

It came as Schumacher was embroiled in a tense title battle with Renault’s Fernando Alonso which went down to the wire. Massa showed himself to be a team player in Japan when he eased off to let the German take the lead.

His efforts were futile as Schumacher retired from the race and eventually missed out on the crown later that season.

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However, it was to be Schumacher’s last year at the Prancing Horse after he walked away from F1 despite winning seven races across the campaign. Schumacher has previously described Massa as one of his “good friends”.

The German almost stepped in for his former team-mate after Massa was injured in a crash at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix. However, he had to call off a potential return after suffering his own injury in a motorcycle accident.

Massa was replaced by Luca Badoer and then Giancarlo Fisichella before returning in 2010. Kimi Raikkonen partnered Massa at Ferrari in 2007 while Schumacher returned to Grand Prix racing with Mercedes in 2010.

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