The Senna autograph snub that left its mark on Massa

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As a young child Felipe Massa once requested an autograph from his idol Ayrton Senna, but it was a moment that left a deep mark on the Brazilian throughout his own career as an F1 driver.

Along with several other young fans, Massa had approached Senna with paper and pen in hand, but the then McLaren driver had no time for his fans and the group was left hanging.

It was a seminal moment that always popped into Massa's mind whenever he was asked for an autograph during his time in Formula 1.

"When I was a kid, Senna unfortunately refused to sign an autograph for me,” Massa remembered, talking to

"It was very difficult for me to accept, because I was a child with a piece of paper in my hand, with two or three others who were with me. I didn’t get Senna’s autograph, and that’s something I’ve never forgotten.

"I got into F1, I managed to be an F1 driver, I managed to race for big teams like Ferrari, and there are still a lot of people asking me for autographs.

"I could never say no to a kid, because I always remembered that moment."

And Massa remembers a day in 2006 when his Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher was surrounded by a crowd of young fans but ignored their presence, until the Brazilian urged the German to give a bit of his time to the group, and then told him about his disappointing Senna moment in his childhood.

"Once, in Barcelona, I and some other Ferrari people were having dinner with Schumacher in a very small town near Montmeló," he recalled.

"I was with Michael, Jean Todt and Nicolas Todt. Then, when we came out of the restaurant, Schumacher got into the car and the whole town was there to ask him for an autograph. He got into the car, I got into the car. He was still driving.

"He was waiting for everybody to get into the car so we could leave. And around the car, a lot of people were waiting and knocking on the window asking for autographs, and he didn’t care.

"There was a little boy saying ‘for God’s sake, give me an autograph, do something, open the window’. That little boy was driving me crazy. I said to myself, ‘There’s no way he’s not going to open the window.

"I elbowed [Schumacher] and said, ‘Michael, for God’s sake, at least do it for the little boy, please!’ He looked at it, signed the little boy’s autograph, obviously signed about ten more, and then we left.

"I then told him the story of what had happened to me with Senna, and he enjoyed hearing it. He told me I was right. That’s typical of him: no emotions. And we Brazilians have a lot of emotions.

"Anyway, it’s an interesting story that happened with Michael and me and it’s worth telling. He was a closed person, really a closed German; you had to get to know him, to understand him, so that once he relaxed he really showed his personality."

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