Q & A with Felipe Massa - FORMULA 1


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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Q & A with Felipe Massa

Q. What went wrong with your car?

Felipe Massa: I think it was the power steering. I'm not so sure because they are checking the car. Just suddenly the car was pushing to the right and I couldn't drive straight anymore.

Q. What would have been possible without the problems you had?

FM: Well if you take the bad strategy we did... I mean the tyres were a bit of a risk, but in these conditions sometimes a risk can be good. But after five laps the soft tyres did not work anymore, so we stopped much earlier than we were supposed to. And then we chose one car on three stops and one car on two stops.

I was the unlucky guy to go on three stops. It destroyed completely my strategy because we had a safety car straight away, so I had eight laps after the safety car which was not enough to create a reasonable gap to fight on the three-stops.

But even if you take into consideration the bad strategy, I was just behind Hamilton and he finished fourth, so I was able to finish in the good points, and then I had a problem with the car.

Q. Are you surprised about the result?

FM: No. I was surprised in Barcelona, not here.

Q. What would you say was your problem today?

FM: It is very bad to start the season like that. To be honest I am very used to having a bad start. Even last year we had a problem on the engine, the year before I finished in the points but I started from the back. So it is always difficult to get a good finish in Australia for whatever reason.

But the championship is still in the beginning and we know in Formula 1 that many things can change. We have to keep our feet on the car and work hard, maybe the next track can be better for us with more temperature in the tyres and more grip as well. So I hope the car can behave better in Malaysia than here.

Q. What can you tell us about the pace of the car in relation to the rest of the grid?

FM: It was not so easy on the race. On the soft tyres we were struggling, on the hard tyre we were struggling a lot to get the tyres working. If you take the whole race, we had the Brawn which was in another planet, then we had the Red Bull - Vettel was quite strong, quite a good pace, maybe a bit better than us. Then we had Kubica who was also competitive. I think we are in the middle of these teams.

We are competitive, we can be a little bit more, we expect to be more to be honest. I think this track is also difficult, there is no grip so with the soft tyres you destroy them quickly. You have the very good grip but you destroy them quickly. The hard tyres doesn't work, it's difficult to get them working especially after the safety car. You saw many people struggling completely. Especially with our car on this type of surface grip and together with the tyres it was very difficult to make it work.

Q. What was it like racing with the KERS?

FM: I did a fantastic start but then it was quite difficult with the overtaking.

Q. How long will it be for you and McLaren to catch up with the other teams?

FM: I don't know if it is possible. When you are three or four tenths behind it is always possible, but if it is a second then it is quite difficult.

Q. Can you explain the strategy in more detail?

FM: Well to be honest I was lap 15 and Kimi was lap 14. In the normal circumstance that is more to the three stops like many people were. And then we came in much earlier than that, lap 11 maybe, and Kimi came even before me. They decided to put more fuel in Kimi's car and keep me in on three stops. But then we had a safety car straight away which destroyed my strategy completely.

Q. When the soft tyres started to go off was it very sudden?

FM: After five laps straight away you are starting to suffer completely at the rear.

Q. Last year you scored no points in the first two races but then nearly won the championship…

FM: Well you know me. I will work very hard for that and I will not give up until the last corner of the last race, so I will do my best.

Q. How quickly to Ferrari need to improve to stop Brawn opening up a championship lead?

FM: That is not a question for me. We need to improve very quickly the car. But in my experience when we see a car that is one second in front, to improve one second from one day to another is very difficult.