Massa: Ah, it’s nice! It’s like a relief, y’know? It was great!
7 October, 2012
Oct.7 (FIA) Felipe Massa rescued some pride for Ferrari, after they lost their team leader Fernando Alonso in a first lap incident, as the Brazilian driver gave his strongest performance in years to claim second place in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka – and with that ending a two year podium drought stretching back to the 2010 Korean Grand Prix. He spoke at the post race press conference.
We cannot say the race or the podium of your life… but almost. Two years without a podium, now you’re back. How do you feel about that?
Felipe Massa: I think it’s fantastic. To come here in Japan, starting tenth, which I was very happy with the car since the practice and then qualifying was not so good. I’m sure I was able to start in the top five so I was tenth. I was able to do a very good start, very clever on the first corner with the accident and everything that happened, and then the pace was very good from the car. Since the beginning of the race the pace was really good. I was behind Jenson and I was quicker than him, when he stopped to do the pitstop I was straight away half a second quicker per lap, so then I was able to push hard and overtake Jenson but also Kamui which was very quick in the front as well. So, for sure the race was much better than I expected. We did a good job, unfortunately Fernando is not here, fighting for the championship as well, but I am very happy with my race and let’s keep pushing hard to be on the podium now, more than two years but every race now.
Obviously the start was very important for you, you picked up a lot of places there. Tell us what you saw at the start and how you picked up those places?
FM: First of all I think my start was very good, I was able to overtake Lewis and then I get to corner one, I saw that Fernando and Kimi went a little bit outside… not outside of the track but very wide after corner one and then I pull inside both, so I was able to overtake both, and then after I saw Mark spinning around, I think a car push[ed] him, which I don’t remember very well but I think a car touch[ed] him and it push[ed] him and he’s spinning in front of me. Then I saw a space and I was able to go on the throttle and take this space and even take the KERS as it was another two cars going out of the corner a little bit slower. I was able to overtake these two cars by using the KERS and going before on the throttle. I think the start was a little bit complicated in corner one but I think we did a perfect job with all these things happening. After that, I was behind Jenson and Kamui, and Jenson was not so quick, so anyway, it was very important. It’s very difficult to overtake in this track, so as soon as they stop I prefer to stay out just to see. And then I improve half a second straight away and a little bit more in the next lap and I think they were a little bit in traffic, so I managed to pass both and then the pace was very good on the hard as well. So, very consistent, very good. Actually, the pace was very good since the whole weekend – unfortunately I couldn’t do a very good qualifying yesterday but y’know I think I was very happy with the car all weekend and very nice to be on the podium again after a little bit of time. Hopefully this is just the beginning of many podiums now in front.
How much of a relief is it to be on the podium?
FM: Ah, it’s nice! It’s like a relief, y’know? It was great, and a great race anyway, able to push hard from the beginning to the end and show that we are here to fight for victory and for pole and not just to fight for a few points.
Was this the hardest one of the last six races for Ferrari on paper and what do you really have to do, where do have to concentrate the most to try to come back?
FM: I would say our car was competitive here, not compared with the Red Bulls, but I think we had very good pace in the race. We had very good pace in practice as well. When I did a long run on Friday I was one of the quickest guys on the track, so I think the car was good here. I’m sure Fernando would have done a good job today. But anyway, we need to improve, we need to bring more new pieces, we need to push in that direction, to improve the car. Just going back to the qualifying, I didn’t have a good qualifying. Actually, I had a very good qualifying until the second set in Q2. Before that, I was always in the top five, top seven and I couldn’t use the tyres. As Sebastian said, sometimes you have that opportunity and you cannot use it, and I didn’t have any grip on the front tyres, and I think that was the biggest problem for my qualifying. I’m sure that starting in the top five would have been as the race was today, because I was fourth after corner three. Starting at the front is very important. The race is easier, you can control your tyres better and use the pace in a better direction. For sure, qualifying is very important.
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