Felipe Massa has admitted that taking his first pole position since 2008 during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix was an incredibly emotional moment.
Massa claimed his first pole in over five years in the dying moments of qualifying on Saturday, snatching the top spot from his Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas, in the process securing a front row lockout for the Grove-based outfit, its first since the 2003 German Grand Prix.
It is the 16th pole position of the Brazilian’s career, and his first for his new team Williams, the other 15 poles all having come for Ferrari between 2006 and 2008.
Notably, it is Massa’s first pole since his accident at the Hungaroring in 2009, when he suffered severe head injuries after a loose spring struck his helmet at high speed.
“I am so happy with what has happened today,” he said. “For our team was such a great moment. It was already a long time ago when I had my last pole position, which was in Brazil 2008, so it’s such an incredible moment.
“The best place to be is here, the first place. It is something I got the chance to be many times in my whole career and I am again now.
“I am happy, very emotional. I am so pleased for me and Williams as well.
“They’ve had an incredible career in the past, and now they are back to the top, back in the fight.”
Massa noted that his pole was not just a special moment of triumph for himself, after he was released six months ago by longterm employers Ferrari, but also for his wife Raffaele and his son Felipinho, the latter having never seen his father top a F1 session before.
“This is a great moment because he [Felipinho] has never seen me in first place,” explained the Brazilian. “This is the first time.
“It always makes a father feel nice, a good feeling, that your son is looking at you in first place.
“For sure he is part of my motivation, part of everything I’m doing in my career.
“I hope I can now have a great race with him watching, my wife, and all family as well from home.”
While he was evidently excited about the prospect of starting from pole, Massa admitted that his focus has now turned towards Sunday’s race, where he believes Mercedes will pose a considerable threat to Williams’ hopes of a race win.
“For sure we need to concentrate on the race tomorrow,” he added. “It will be a difficult and important race for us.
“We cannot forget what Mercedes have been doing until now. We cannot forget they have been ahead.
“At the moment they are in front, they are stronger and I hope during the championship we can close or even pass.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic