Massa's Blog

Massa: "We have established a good base line for the race weekend"

May 28, 2008 · Posted by staffFerrari

Maranello, 23rd April 2008 - After winning in Bahrain and then spending a few days holiday with my wife and parents in Dubai, I returned home to Monaco and I have to say that after such a busy start to the season, it felt good to be back home and to be able to stay there for a while. Of course I headed for Spain in the middle of it all where I had two worthwhile days of testing in Barcelona, the first two days of the four day session. On the first day, the track was actually very dirty, so I didn't do so many laps in the morning, but by the afternoon we did quite a lot. We concentrated on running the slick tyres, similar to those we will have next year, just to get a feel for how they work. It was pretty interesting as it was the first time in my career that I had driven a Formula 1 car on slicks. Later in the week, the team adapted the car to have less downforce when running these tyres, but when I had a go it was basically this year's car with no changes and it was quite incredible as the car had a lot of downforce so the lap times were also very impressive. It felt like I was driving a completely new car as you need to be a lot more aggressive in your driving style, as the grip level was much higher than usual. From a driving point of view it was really amazing and it was a great pleasure to get the maximum out of the performance of the car, making the most of the aerodynamic and mechanical grip and setting some incredible lap times. I also did some laps with these tyres when they had not been warmed in the usual way. At the moment, there is a suggestion that next year, we would not be allowed to use our tyre warmers - those blankets you see wrapped around the tyres when we sit in the garage or on the grid. In terms of performance, but also more importantly, safety, the tyres were of course at their best if they had been in the blankets. When I tried them without it was very difficult to drive on the "out" lap, even though it was not a particularly cold day. So never mind the performance element, I think the blankets are mainly important from the safety point of view. As for this weekend and the race in Barcelona, it will be as tough as any other, even if I think we can be very competitive if we do our best at all times. But everything can change quickly, not just from one race to the next, but even in terms of how the car feels at this circuit from last week's test to this week's race weekend. Last year I won here what was, to be honest, an amazing race and for me it is difficult to forget! I remember being very very close to Alonso in qualifying and he was in a very determined mood as he was at his home race and in a competitive car. It was a tough competition between us. I made a very good start and maintained the advantage through the first corner where Alonso tried everything he knew to pass me. That start was really his only chance to get by because we had a very good strategy. We had a bit of a moment next to one another in the first corner, but I had the inside line and managed to stay in front. I had a very good pace in the race and from then on it was not so difficult to control the pace.


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