Felipe Massa has revealed that after a rocky earlier relationship, he and 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve reconciled to become friends.
As his long F1 career comes to a close later this month, the Brazilian has been looking back on his past teammates, including world champions Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.
But he was also paired with 1997 title winner Villeneuve at Sauber in 2005 — and initially it wasn’t all roses.
“Villeneuve is a person and a driver who is very different from the others,” Massa is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint.
“At the beginning our relations were complicated, and I have to say that from my side there was hostility.
“Because in my first year in F1, he always complained about me in the briefings, about my behaviour on the track and young drivers in general.
“One day he came to talk to me with a polite, friendly tone,” Massa added. “I asked him ‘Why do you now behave well with me, when you always criticised me?’
“He said that was in the past and he made many mistakes, that he had nothing against me and that he considered me a good driver. Since that time we became very good friends.
“I would say that he is one of the people in the paddock I am most friends with,” said the Williams driver.
Massa continued: “Michael (Schumacher) was my teacher.
“Of course, he was very selfish, but my luck was that he looked at me as a kid. Let’s say that maybe because of that, he could not be selfish and hard with me, like maybe he had been with others,” he explained.