Vettel: Massa can be as fast or sometimes even faster than Alonso

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari jokes with Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing in the press conference. Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday 7 October 2012.

Felipe Massa jokes with Sebastian Vettel during the post race press conference at Suzuka

Oct.10 (GMM) Sebastian Vettel has said that he does not understand why Felipe Massa has struggled so much alongside Fernando Alonso at Ferrari, in what could be the first salvo in the war of words between the title contenders.

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari 150 Italia leads team mate Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari 150 Italia. Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Belgian Grand Prix, Race, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sunday 28 August 2011.The 2012 championship looks set to be a head-to-head contest between Red Bull‘s Vettel and Ferrari number 1 Alonso.

But with Ferrari still yet to sign up Alonso’s teammate Felipe Massa for 2013, German Vettel has revealed some of his feelings about the situation inside the great Italian team.

When asked by Folha de S.Paulo newspaper about Brazilian Massa’s lean years between 2010 and 2012, the reigning back to back world champion answered: “I don’t understand. I really like Felipe as a person and respect him a lot as a driver. Many people forget how much he has won and that he lost a title by one point to Lewis [Hamilton].”

“Had he been champion, people would talk very differently about him. I don’t understand why he has suffered so much in recent years,” added Vettel.

Massa, of course, has come back from his near-fatal Budapest qualifying crash of 2009, insisting that – physiologically at least – he is just the same as when he went head-to-head for the title against Hamilton.

The podium (L to R): Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari, second; Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari, race winner; Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren, third. Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, German Grand Prix, Race, Hockenheim, Germany, 30 July 2006. DIGITAL IMAGEBut also in 2008, Massa was the standout Ferrari driver alongside the then reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

And two years earlier, Massa was regarded as more than a match for his then teammate Michael Schumacher, who was ending his ultra-successful first career on a high.

Vettel said: “With all due respect to Fernando, I think Felipe can be as fast or sometimes even faster than him. But then I don’t always understand why the difference between them is so great.

“In the past Felipe has competed with very good drivers like Michael and Kimi and has always been fast, so I don’t understand. But I’m not a Ferrari driver and so I don’t know how things are there.

“It’s just a shame that people forget things so quickly. In 2008 he [Massa] was seen as one of the best and now he’s not.

“If his engine had not blown up in Hungary he would be a champion. I know I keep saying ‘if’, but that’s the way it is,” Vettel is quoted.

Subbed by AJN.

  • utar

    well, massa knew what happen to trulli in 2004 after outperforming fernando…he was booted out by the team and went to toyota the year after!!

  • mann

    schumacher treat massa as protege

    kimi basically dont give a fk on car development ending up in favor of massa

    Alonso will nvr allow a single resouces slip through massa hand, and he will constantly screw up his mind. Massa is latin, he needs support from the team to hv tht confidence to perform.

    easy theory really!!
    look at suzuka, that massa is the one we used to know!! guess alonso needs to DNF more for us to see the real massa!!

  • Quattro_T

    Obviously RB and Vettel realized they cannot win a straight fight against someone like Alonso, so they take help of mind games.

    LoL – why don’t you go and play your mind games somewere else sir, Alonso is to big of a match for you as it was proven in 2010 and 2012. And besides, Webber is not bad for a nr 2 driver ehh.

  • John

    Quattro_T – This isn’t mind games, if you read it it’s very much that Vettel has been asked and he’s giving a fair answer. And if it were mind games he’d be talking about Alonso!

    Rather this really is showing that Massa is being kept at a disadvantage in Ferrari and not being allowed to show his true talent. I feel sorry for him as he’s very much getting second best of everything at Ferrari, be it when he gets new parts or access to the pit lane during a race. Yet he’s getting all the pressure to perform.

    On the anniversary of his accident he was about to win the GP and was told to move over and let Alonso past! How sick was that?

    It’s a no-win situation for Massa.

  • javalocco

    Alonso who used to make mind games.
    Vettel only admire Massa, nothing wrong with the opinion.

    Webber never become number 2 driver. he always compete with vettel.

  • fools

    Vettel playing “Mind games” lol

  • Magnus Rubensson

    Felipe Massa has shown considerable improvement lately. The improvement was clearly visible from the time of the British GP approximately.

    In the second half of the season Massa has been slightly behind Button points-wise, but he’s actually on par with Webber, not too far off Hamilton and notably better than Grosjean and Rosberg (who are both ahead of Massa in the table).

    Out of 69 points in total, Massa has scored 58 points since the British GP. That’s no mean feat for any driver. If he’d taken home the same sort of points throughout the season, he’d easily be in the Webber-Button group.

    The results in the first half of the 2012 season could of course be driver-related, I don’t know, but I’ve also been wondering if Ferrari sacrificed their second car and let Massa carry out test work.

    Testing in between races is not an option, but there’s nothing stopping a team from doing test work during the actual races…

    The Ferrari did not appear to be among the fastest in the first few races. It seems to keep up all right now. I’m wondering if an ‘informal testing programme’ might just have finished around Canada or thereabouts?

    I’m just speculating of course. I have absolutely no idea. :-)

    I also don’t see anyone else out there who would be doing a better job for Ferrari than Massa does. His results have clearly improved and the podium in Japan was long overdue.

  • Alonso_is_slow

    Alonso needs a real teammate, not this broken guy. Any real teammate would beat Alonso as they did in the past (see Trulli and Hamilton as a rookee). Only maggots like Fisichella and Massa cannot overcome him.

    Also note that Massa was generally 1 second per lap slower than Schumi at Ferrari. The same Massa after being broken can be faster than Alonso…

    Alonso is no more than a hype.

  • Venezia

    Ferrari made massa that way because he is the no2 driver even though they say they would treat their drivers equally

  • abraham

    alonso said once that hamilton was better than vettel.. now massa got a podium at last and vettel wants payback lol

  • Sam

    If Vettel wants to understand why the difference between Massa & Alonso, he should join Alonso in that mediocre car of Ferrari and try to drive it….then he will understand why Massa had been suffering…Ferrari is no longer the incredible car Massa was driving in 2008 or before…