Massa feeling competitive on both tire compounds

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Felipe Massa believes that he could be in the running for a strong result in China following a successful FP2 session on Friday.

Massa finished the session quickest on the soft tire, but he was also impressive on the longer hard tire runs that could prove key in the race on Sunday.

“Our race pace looks competitive,” Massa said in an interview. “The car is handling well on both types of tire and degradation was not excessive, even if the higher wear rate of the soft compared to the medium compound will be an important factor when it comes to choosing the right strategy. I feel confident and hope that the whole weekend can keep moving in this direction.”

Many drivers struggled to look after their tires during practice, either locking up or dropping off the pace dramatically. However, Massa had the upper hand on both compounds, although he did compare the difference between soft and hard tires as being like two different cars.

“When I fitted the softs, the car improved a lot and this meant I was able to set the fastest time of the day. It was impressive, like driving two completely different cars.

“Tires will play a key role in this Grand Prix because of the high level of degradation over a long run. We will have to ensure we pick the right strategy for Sunday, as well as deciding on which of the new parts we tried this morning to fit to the car.”

Massa is chasing his first race win since the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, and his current form has seen many pundits end calls for Ferrari to drop him from their line up. If he were to outqualify Fernando Alonso in China, it would be the fifth race in a row where Massa has been the leading Ferrari on the grid.

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Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”