With Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s Spanish driver very much the centre of attention this weekend, Felipe Massa can expect a quieter time in terms of media interest than team-mate Fernando Alonso. Nevertheless, he still found a willing audience for his regular Thursday press call in the Valencia paddock this afternoon. The winner of the maiden race here in 2008 is in confident mood for the coming few days. “I expect a good weekend for us here, with a performance to match the showing we produced in Canada,” he began.
In Montreal we proveded we could deliver a high level performance, with our best ever qualifying of the year and a strong race pace too. That means we can hope to do well here in Valencia, because this street circuit is not so different to the track in Montreal, as it has some long straight sections, with significant straight line braking and some slow corners as well. The final sector is quicker, but that does not mean it has fast corners like Barcelona or Silverstone for example. The hot weather should also help us in terms of getting the new Medium compound tyre to work well for us, because I believe it’s not so different to the old Hard tyre that we struggled with at some tracks earlier in the season.”
The very exciting race at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit a fortnight ago is still being talked about in the paddock and one of the best moments was watching Felipe fight like a tiger to take sixth place off Kamui Kobayashi, literally at the finish line. But as the Ferrari man explained, it was not actually the fight he had hoped for. “This year we have fought so hard at so many of the races, with a lot of overtaking thanks to the new rules. But in Canada, I did not want to be fighting for sixth place, I wanted to be fighting for the win! But I lost many places after I came up behind a car going so slowly on the dry line which meant sixth was the best I could do in the end rather than fighting with Sebastian for the win or the other guys at the front for a podium finish.”
At the next round of the championship in Silverstone, the off-throttle blown diffusers will be banned and the Brazilian was asked if this might upset the balance of power down pit lane. “It’s very difficult to assess what it will mean, in terms of some teams maybe losing more of their performance than others, although it’s clear that everyone using the system will lose something. I have no problem with these new rules and maybe it could help us compared to other teams.”