Felipe Massa is confident of continuing Ferrari’s strong start to the season as he looks to claim his first Formula One victory since the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Brazilian driver currently sits fifth in the championship, having scored 22 points after two strong finishes in Australia and Malaysia. Despite struggling in Malaysia, Massa finished P5 behind both Red Bull and Mercedes drivers, and he admitted that he didn’t have the pace to win.
“I don’t think we had the car to win, but I think we have a competitive car for fighting for the podium,” he told Autosport.
Massa also spoke about the improvement the team had made, but he was unwilling to get carried away with Ferrari’s pace.
“We need to keep our feet on the ground as well. We did great work on the car from last year to this year, but there’s a lot to do to get the evolution right and make it more competitive.”
However, the 2008 championship runner-up was confident that he could once again challenge for victories if Ferrari continue their upward trend.
“I think if we carry on in this direction, the chance for winning races and fighting for the championship is there.”
In the constructors’ championship, Ferrari are currently third, 26 points behind Red Bull, but the Italian marque will be paying close attention to the tension between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber which could hinder their title defense. If Massa can continue his good form, Ferrari could be set to challenge for their first constructors’ championship in five years.
Max Verstappen has picked his illegal pass on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix as his favorite overtake of the Formula 1 season.
Verstappen was one of F1’s most prolific passers through 2017, making 22 overtaking moves as per Pirelli’s end of year data.
When asked to pick out his favorite in a post-season interview on his official website, Verstappen picked his bold move on Raikkonen at the Circuit of The Americas that sparked controversy when he was penalized for completing the overtake off-track.
The Red Bull driver had charged from 16th on the grid to cross the line third, only for a five-second time penalty to deny him a podium and drop him to fourth in a snap call made before the post-race ceremony.
“Of course, at first your initial reaction is something like: ‘Why? It was a great move.’ But when you look at the rules, it was not correct,” Verstappen said.
“Nothing was by the book that whole weekend. Drivers were getting off track without being penalized for it. But you always need to focus on the positives: it was still a nice race and everyone enjoyed the excitement all the way down to the final lap.
“It’s always nice to be on the podium, but to finish fourth after having started sixteenth, is still a great result.
“It wasn’t as painful as most people thought it was. In the end I made my peace with it.”
Asked if it was his best move of the year, Verstappen said: “Yes, because this year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes.
“With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights, which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.”