High Five: Felipe Massa's F1 career highlights

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    Story highlights

    • Felipe Massa selects five career highlights
    • Brazilian's final race will be in Abu Dhabi
    • Has driven for Williams, Ferrari, Sauber

    (CNN)November 27 will mark the passing of an era in Formula One, as one of its most popular drivers ends his career.

    Felipe Massa will retire at the end of the 2016 season after 15 years in the elite motorsport.
      The Brazilian driver came mightily close to being crowned world champion in 2008 but was merely grateful to be alive a year later after suffering life-threatening injuries in Hungary.
      Ahead of Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix, the 35-year-old selects his five greatest moments in a career where he has registered 11 victories from 244 races:

      5. Abu Dhabi, 2014

      Massa celebrates his sole runner-up finish at Williams with the team's technical staff.
      Massa: "It was a race where we fought for the victory -- losing by very little."
      Unless he can finish in the top three in the seven remaining races of his career, the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix could be the last time Massa ever graces a podium. His second place came during the first of his three seasons with Williams, and remains his best finish with the British team, which won the last of its 16 world titles in 1997.
      The race is largely remembered for Lewis Hamilton winning the world championship, finishing first to finally see off Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, whose car trouble resulted in a 14th-place finish.
      The race was also nicknamed "Abu Double" after the controversial ruling that twice the usual points would be awarded for the winner.
      Massa only had eyes for the victory, starting in fourth and swiftly moving up to third before easing past Rosberg. With 12 laps to go, the Brazilian opted for supersoft tires to aggressively chase Hamilton.
      Originally a gap of just over 10 seconds, Massa was closing at roughly a second per lap -- but was unable to catch the Briton, finishing 2.5 seconds behind.
      Nonetheless, Massa was delighted with his pace and, with teammate Valtteri Bottas finishing third, Williams finished the season on a high -- celebrating its first double podium in nine years.
      Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, is where Massa will line up for his final race.

      4. Brazil, 2008

      Massa wept after losing the 2008 drivers' title, despite winning the season's finale at Interlagos.
      Massa: "I won in Brazil when I was fighting for the championship. The championship finished there but when I didn't win the championship, it was not because of me -- it was because of something that happened that made me lose one point before that."
      There has never been a closer finish to the F1 world championship than this race in Sao Paulo.
      The permutations before the title decider were clear. Trailing Hamilton by seven points, Massa had to finish first or second to be champion -- and hope that Hamilton finished outside the top five.
      The context was equally simple: Brazil was ready to party as the prospect of its first world champion since Ayrton Senna in 1991 loomed.
      Massa's performance was near perfect. He qualified in pole and then dominated a race, winning by 13 seconds in heavy rain. When he crossed the line, he was champion in all but name.
      Hamilton was down in sixth but on the very last corner, the McLaren driver overtook Timo Glock -- who paid for his decision to stay on dry tires -- to secure the fifth place he needed. Wild celebrations in the Ferrari and Massa camps were cruelly halted, as Massa's "reign" lasted just 39 seconds.
      For the record, he became the first man since Alain Prost in 1989 to lose the championship despite winning the most races, and he could only rue the engine failure he suffered when leading the Hungarian GP with three laps to go.
      Mild consolation came from securing the constructors' championship for Ferrari, but it was Massa's reaction that cemented his status as one of the nicest guys in the F1 paddock. "I know how to win, I know how to lose. Hamilton did a great job all year. He is a worthy champion," he said.

      3. Turkey, 2006

      Massa is sprayed by the great Michael Schumacher as the Brazilian celebrates his first grand prix win.
      Massa: "My first victory in Formula One was in Turkey. I won three times in a row in Turkey. The first one was a big fight between me, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, so it was an amazing feeling."
      At the 67th time of asking, Massa finally won a GP. It came in the 14th race of his first season with Ferrari, and after three podium finishes in his previous four races.
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      Starting on pole for the first time, the 25-year-old did not pass up the opportunity -- holding off a twin challenge from seven-time world champion Schumacher and Alonso, the reigning title holder.
      Two weeks later, Massa's future at Ferrari was secured as Schumacher announced his retirement from the sport (only to return with Mercedes in 2010). Massa, meanwhile, would go on to win the Turkish GP in 2007 and 2008, the only man to ever win it more than once.

      2. Bahrain, 2008

      Felipe Massa poses with wife Anna Rafaela and Ferrari staff after winning the 2008 GP in Bahrain.
      Massa: "The second time I won in Bahrain, which was 2008. It was a great race, a great feeling."
      As Massa lined up on the grid for the season's third race, he was facing serious question marks about his abilities. After spinning out of the first two races, critics were asking if he had really moved on from the mistakes he made in his debut season with Sauber in 2002.
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      But from the very first corner, where he overtook Robert Kubica to move into first place, it was clear he meant business. Late on, he held off pressure from teammate Kimi Raikkonen as Ferrari finished first and second.
      The win was the first in Massa's most successful season, with his six victories proving double that of his next best tally (in 2007). Two months after the Bahrain win, he led the drivers' series -- becoming the first Brazilian to do so since Senna in 1993.

      1. Brazil, 2006

      Massa is mobbed after becoming the first Brazilian to win a home GP since Senna in 1993.
      Massa: "My number one is a dream I had -- winning in Brazil, the place that I grew up. I was there since I was a kid, on the go-kart track, watching all the Brazilian drivers when I was a kid in the grandstand. I remember standing up for all the laps. Then I managed to win at home. This was the best victory and the most amazing feeling I had in my career."
      Four races after he first stood on the podium, the F1 season ended in Interlagos -- a circuit where Massa had struggled in his previous three races (retired, 8th, 11th). But with victory in Turkey fresh in his mind and racing in his home city Sao Paulo, he had the bit between his teeth -- taking pole position.
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      The race was a battle for the title, with Alonso needing a point to clinch it ahead of Massa's teammate Schumacher, who had to win. In imperious form, Massa did what no Brazilian had done since Senna in 1993 -- win a home grand prix -- after charging into the lead both before and after the safety car came out.
      While Renault's Alonso won his second straight title after finishing second, Massa -- who joined compatriots Nelson Piquet, Emerson Fittipaldi and Carlos Pace in winning the country's GP -- had fulfilled his dream and embarked on a lap of honor with the Brazilian flag.
      Having finished third in the championship, Massa called it the best day of his life -- and 10 years on, it is still the best moment of his career.