The 11-time winner is calling time on his F1 career after Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and was centre stage at a special team farewell party hosted in the Yas Marina paddock on Saturday night.

After deputy team principal Claire Williams paid tribute to the contribution he had made since joining the outfit in 2014, she announced that as well as presents of a photo album and specially-commissioned cartoon illustrating his career, he will be given his Brazilian GP chassis.

The car featured a unique rebranding from title sponsor Martini, which replaced its name with 'Massa' on the car.

Right time

As Massa struggled to hold back the tears after being told of the gift, he told team members, rival drivers, media, friends and family that he had huge gratitude for everything Williams had done for him but was even more convinced he was quitting F1 at the right time.

"I am so proud of my career, everything I passed through, difficult moments, and great moments," he said. "I think it is a good time, so I am really happy with my decision.

"It is very difficult to decide or stop, because we are young and you need to decide something in the moment that you are still fit. To keep doing and keep working for very long, I am really sure I chose the right moment to do that."

Final emotions

Massa secured a slot in Q3 in his final qualifying – and he was clearly delighted about the opportunity to show well after ending up 10th on the grid.

"Definitely it is a good thing, so definitely it is always good to be quick," he explained. "It is my last qualifying so it is good to finish with a good performance.

"I had quite a good qualifying. I am happy. So my last real qualifying of my career in F1, and it is always good to be quick.

"I am not stopping because of the speed. I am stopping because of other things – it is a nice gift. I am concentrated and ready for the race tomorrow and hopefully things will be even better tomorrow."

Massa insisted he was heading into Sunday's race with no feelings of sadness at all, having been overwhelmed by the support he has received in recent weeks.

"I am not sad. I am happy for my decision anyway," he said. "It is a really good feeling to finish your last qualifying but with a good performance, a good performance gives you happiness and I am happy for my job today and I hope we can have a good race tomorrow.

"We know the car we have. The race will not be easy, so many cars around that are more competitive than ours. But I will try everything I can for the best of my car."

Gallery: Williams gives Massa Brazilian GP car as leaving gift

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