Massa eyeing shot at first win in five years

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Felipe Massa believes Ferrari’s F138 is quiz enough for him to end a winless streak which began five years ago.

Massa hasn’t won a race since his victory at home in 2008 – the race in which he lost the world championship to Lewis Hamilton.

However he believes the F138 is a contender this year: “The work we did with the F138 over the winter has taken us in the right direction and the car has much more potential,” said Massa.

“Of course, I always want to be fighting for the win, although that did not work out in the first two races, but the signs were good with an excellent race pace and now we have to keep moving forward race by race.

“All I can say is that there are definitely more than two teams that are capable of fighting for the wins and the championship. Our team is one of them, with the car moving forward in the right way and it is delivering results on track that we expected when looking at data in the wind tunnel and the factory.”

Massa has turned around his form in the past 12 months – he is leading team mate Fernando Alonso in the championship and has out-qualified him in the last four races.

“The aim is to fight for a lot more points, for a podium, for a win even, because you have to set yourself high targets,” he said of this weekend’s race.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.