Massa: Happy to be here fighting for the top
13 March, 2010
Mar.13 (YF1) Felipe Massa astounded the Formula 1 world with a great effort in qualifying to nab second place on the grid in the Ferrari F10. Very much in the shadow of his new team mate Fernando Alonso, the Brazilian’s comeback received universal praise. He spoke at the post qualifying press sconference, here are the highlight:
Tell us about how you feel today after a great comeback qualifying and about your journey back here?
Massa: Well, first of all congratulations to Sebastian he did a great job for the first race of the season. I think it is very nice to be back here racing competitively and in a good direction. I feel very happy to be back after such a difficult time. I was watching the races on television and was pretty excited but it is much better to be sat in the car. I prepared myself in a good direction, testing, driving go-karts, everything was great to be back in the car for racing and if you look at what happened last season with us I think it is a good start to the season for us. After a difficult season where we finished in the last race and where we are starting the season in the first race is always great for the team, great for the guys who did a very tough job inside the factory since a long time, so I feel really positive to start on the first race second. We are second and third and for the team that is really great and we will see how we doing in the race. Red Bull and also some other teams are really strong, so the race will be very difficult but I am very happy to be here fighting for the top.
What were you expecting for qualifying?
Massa: I expected to be, looking at what happened yesterday and this morning, fighting with Mercedes and Red Bull. I think Sebastian made a little step forward if you look this morning and yesterday and did a great lap which you would expect him. I think he did a good job.
Was what you achieved today exactly what you had imagined for several months or much more?
Massa: For sure, when I did all the first tests, I expected a good car to drive. For sure for the car the most important thing to think about was how the championship was going to be, and I was quite comfortable driving the car in the first test and the second test and also in Barcelona, so for sure I expected to be competitive. I expected to come here and fight for a good position: first, second, fifth, whatever. I expected to be competitive and I think it’s pretty much been in that direction.
What will be the main difficulty in the race tomorrow: saving the tyres, saving fuel in the engine?
Massa: I don’t think there’s much more to say, actually. Sebastian said everything. The race is very long, at the beginning we need to understand how the tyres behave, like the package as he said. Then we need to also understand what will be the right moment to stop which no one knows 100 percent at the moment, so we wait and see.
How do you feel about the race performance of the Ferrari compared to what you can do over a single lap in qualifying? Are you stronger in the race, do you think?
Massa: I think we did a good job yesterday to prepare the long distance in both tyres. We also swapped. I was on one tyre and Fernando was on the different tyres to do the long run. I think we are in the right direction, so let’s see how the first race is going to be. It is the first race of the season and we need to understand so many things which will happen in the race, on the strategies, let’s wait and see but I am really optimistic.
Everybody knows that the first challenge is the team-mate and so how important has it been to come back and beat the team-mate, even if it is just on Saturday?
Massa: As I said, it’s just fantastic to be back in the race. I never had any doubt that I was different than before. Everything I was doing since the accident was really normal. I remember the first time I went to drive the go-karts I even had the doctor there and everybody was watching and waiting to see if I was OK, and on the first lap I was already sideways, pushing hard on the first lap. I don’t really feel any difference to how I was before the accident. It’s always positive when you come back and you are competitive. It’s definitely what I expected. I think we have a good team, me and Fernando working very well with the team and we always want to beat everybody, it doesn’t matter who the driver is, whether he’s a team-mate or Sebastian or whatever. We all want to be first, that’s what we’re aiming for. I think this is just the first qualifying, I’m happy, but we need to prepare ourselves for the race and for the next races as well, which is always very tough. I really feel that we’re going in a good direction.