European GP - Massa: “Happy to be the eighth winner”
Valencia, 21 June – Felipe Massa met the media this afternoon, against the scenic backdrop of the Valencia harbour, inside the Scuderia Ferrari hospitality unit, while outside, today’s temperatures rose to the mid 30s, even if slightly cooler conditions are hopefully expected for the next two days at least. Once the F1 media get hold of a topic, like dogs with a bone they don’t let go. Having now had seven winners in seven races so far this season, the obvious follow on is whether Valencia can deliver the eighth winner.
“Can I be that eighth winner?” Felipe asked himself. “If you look at how many things have changed in this year’s races, with strategy and other situations, then many drivers have the chance to win and sure, I put myself in this category. I would be very happy to be the eighth winner.”
As for the subject of his return to form over the last few races, the Ferrari man had to point out that it was hard to single out one element that made the difference. “I think first of all, there is the fact we have changed many things on the car, starting with developments that make it better and easier for me to drive. After that, I changed a lot of things in the set-up, some of them possibly going the wrong way at first until we found a good solution, but now I feel the car is much more comfortable to drive. When you start the weekend happy with the car, then it helps everything, even the psychological point of view. But if I have to choose one point it is the fact we found a good direction for our development and it is clear that in terms of overall performance, we are getting better race by race.”
While the team has always been supportive of Felipe, even when he was struggling, in recent weeks, not only has his team-mate Fernando Alonso repeated the fact he has faith in the Brazilian’s ability, but even Bernie Ecclestone went on record to say he felt Massa had been unfairly criticised. “It’s always much better to have positive comments from people who understand our work,” said Felipe. “I know what I can do and if some good results come along maybe even you guys in the media will start to change your attitude to me!,” he concluded with a smile.
A final word about the Valencia circuit itself came from an interesting question, aimed at the man who won the maiden edition of this race back in 2008. Does Felipe like this circuit because he has won here, or did he win here because he likes the circuit? “Oh, I’d have to say I like it because I won here.” As to how the street circuit would suit the Ferrari F2012, Felipe was not sure. “It is so hard to predict anything this year, but we have improved the car still a bit further and every time we bring the car to the track, we have some new parts. I hope this is another circuit where we can show yet another step forward in performance.”