The Formula 1 specialist media are still interested in what they see as Felipe Massa’s dramatic upturn in form which dates back to the mid-point of last season and which, in Melbourne last weekend, delivered a strong fourth place for the Brazilian.
The man himself sees things in far more simple terms. “The car is for sure much better and we have already showed throughout the Australian weekend, practice, qualifying and the race, that it is more competitive than last year. The car is ten times better and I feel happy and more comfortable than I did at this time last year, when I struggled to understand the car. This year I can be much more consistent and the car is easier to drive, which is pretty good for the team and also for me.”
Even if the Scuderia tops the points in the constructors’ classification after a single round, Massa is too experienced to be lulled into a false sense of security.
“Remember, in qualifying we were one second slower, but track conditions were not consistent, so it is hard to judge where we really are,” he cautioned. “In the race our pace was excellent, maybe the best, when our tyres were in good shape. Our level of tyre degradation was higher than Kimi’s, but it was reasonable when compared to the other cars and that is definitely positive. It is something we need to work on to get better in both qualifying and the race.”
“Overall, Australia went well for us and we need to make sure we progress race by race now. The situation could be completely different at this track and we need to wait and see. Maybe we will have a clearer picture of what is really the gap between us and the others in qualifying, either negative or positive. It is also true we had a good race pace when compared to the Red Bull, after it had been quicker than us on Saturday. This will be an important weekend to understand as much as possible about the car and the tyres.”
With regards to his teammate Fernando Alonso reaching the 200 grand prix milestone, Massa said, “It is definitely an important number: 200 Grands Prix is possibly over the halfway point in a career isn’t it! It’s a nice occasion. He has driven so many great races and won two championship titles and so this is definitely a special moment, so congratulations to him for that.”