Felipe Massa says he has been heartened by the reaction to his decision to retire from F1 at the end of the year.
The 35-year-old Brazilian made his debut in 2002 and won 11 races for Ferrari and almost the 2008 title, but at Monza announced that after three final seasons for Williams he will call it a day in late November.
“I have felt a respect and a very great affection from all over the world” after the announcement, Massa told Brazil’s UOL Esporte. “I was even a little surprised.
“I am very happy with the messages I received, both from fans and the people who worked with me throughout my career,” he added.
“I was even a little surprised.”
Massa also said he is satisfied with his 15-year F1 career, which will tick over to 250 starts once the five lights go out in the 2016 Abu Dhabi finale.
“There are 22 drivers in formula one but not many who managed to stay 15 years and be as successful as I could,” he said.