Massa's Blog

"I can't wait to be back on the race track"

September 10, 2008 · Posted by staffFerrari
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"A few hours after standing on the podium at Spa to receive the trophy for second place in the Belgian Grand Prix, I learned that I had actually been declared the winner. I was in the team motorhome, saying goodbye to everyone and getting ready to leave the circuit, when Stefano Domenicali informed me that the Stewards had penalised Lewis for his overtaking move on Kimi and that I was now the winner."Immediately after the podium ceremony, we knew the incident was under investigation and my first reaction was to find out what had actually happened, as I didn't see it when I was on the track. What Lewis did is the sort of thing that can happen, but I think he was maybe a bit too optimistic in thinking he could just hand back the position, albeit only partially to Kimi and then immediately try and pass him again. Incidents like this have often been discussed in the official driver briefings when it has been made absolutely clear that anyone cutting a chicane has to fully restore the position and also any other eventual advantage gained. If Lewis had taken the chicane correctly, he would never have been able to pass Kimi on the very short straight that follows it. That was my immediate opinion after seeing the replay. Maybe if Lewis had waited and tried to pass on the next straight, that would have been a different matter."It is now looking very interesting in terms of the championship, as I am just two points behind. I drove my race in Spa to finish, thinking about the championship situation and I did the right thing, because I gained one place after Kimi's crash and then after the race, came another move up the finish order. I am happy with that because the championship is really open now. But there are still five races to go and so we need to do a good job. The last couple of laps in Spa were extremely slippery and so I slowed down even more than normal because I saw there was a comfortable gap to the guy behind and I just wanted to make sure I finished the race. If I had been in a fight for another position, I would have pushed harder. But I was thinking more of the championship situation and I did not want to finish without any points, through taking risks."While I am pleased to have won, I have to feel sorry for Kimi too. I know what it is like to be leading a race and then losing it with a few laps to go. He was in a different situation to me when the rain came, as he was fighting for the win. It is very frustrating for him, especially after he drove a great race. Now, in just a few days we start again in Monza and I am really motivated to have a great race there, especially in front of all our home fans. We need to concentrate and be strong all weekend and then in the last few races.On Sunday night, I flew back to Monaco and I was able to celebrate with my uncles and my father who watched the race with me. I am leaving on Tuesday already for Monza, as I have some promotional work to do for the team and sponsors and then it will be down to work on Friday. Arriving in Monza as the winner of the last race is a boost and we also had a good test there the week before Spa. We did a lot of mileage which was important from the reliability point of view, especially on the engine front, which will be a key element for the coming races. We also did a lot of mileage running the low downforce Monza aero package. I think the results were generally okay and thanks to some changes on the suspension, we managed to improve the way the car works over the kerbs which is so important at this track.

 

"I think this is the best circuit on the current calendar"

September 2, 2008 · Posted by staffFerrari
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“I have had a busy time since winning in Valencia and now, from that completely new street circuit, in a couple of days we go to one of the oldest and most challenging tracks in the world at Spa. In between these two races, I spent two days testing in Monza last week and generally the results were positive, although my work load was aimed entirely at the Italian Grand Prix and I did not really try anything specifically for the Spa circuit. Even though I was concentrating on the demands of the Monza track, we did a lot of mileage which was important from the reliability point of view for this weekend in Belgium, especially on the engine front. “Last year, I finished second in Belgium and in the past I had a fourth place when I was driving for Sauber. Like most of the drivers, I think this is the best circuit on the current calendar and I love the track and it’s great to be going there. It’s always nice to be at Spa and I have good memories of last year, when we had a competitive car and the team got a one-two finish. I hope we can repeat that performance and have a car that is good enough to keep ahead of the McLarens, which of course is our main target at the moment. I will also be hoping to be ahead of my team-mate, but Kimi has always been quick at Spa, not just in Formula 1, but he was also a winner here in the junior categories and he has won the last three grands prix at this track. So for sure, it won’t be easy to beat him and I am looking forward to a good battle with my team-mate. The F2008 should be competitive and our aim will be to bring home as many points as possible for the team.“You cannot talk about Spa without mentioning the rain: if it’s just steady rain, the track is not too difficult to deal with, but sometimes the rain in Spa comes with fog and that makes visibility very poor and it’s not too comfortable to drive in. As a team, all we can do is to be as well prepared for any situation that might occur, including the possibility of rain at the back of the circuit and nowhere else, which I have encountered before. I remember watching a GP2 race run in those conditions and it was pretty interesting! We need to keep an open mind and be ready to react quickly if the weather changes suddenly. “Spa is not a circuit where you can do so many laps in practice, because it’s such a long track and apart from the time restriction of the length of the practice sessions, you also have to think about the mileage on the engine, at least after Friday. This also means you have to plan your work on the track very efficiently and make any changes to the set-up very quickly, so as not to waste too much time in the pits. The track length also complicates race strategy as a fuel difference of one lap could end up costing you a lot of time, which means that strategy is even more important than usual. On top of that, because driving the track is in itself so challenging, you really need a good car to be competitive; one that gives you plenty of downforce for the changes of direction and the many quick corners. The car really needs to be very well balanced. If we can put all these elements together from Friday morning through to this coming Sunday afternoon, then I believe we can have a really good weekend in Spa. I’m looking forward to it.”

 

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