Felipe Massa has said that a strategy error by Ferrari cost him a top five finish in today’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the Brazilian driver was forced to settle for eighth place come the checkered flag.
Massa has been running as high as P2 at one point, and he showed good pace throughout the grand prix to lie ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso after the first round of stops. However, a slow second stop saw him fall behind the pair, and he was unable to catch them using the medium compound tire.
“The team made a mistake,” he said. “I didn’t expect to use the mediums at the last stop, I expected to use the softs. I did nineteen laps in the beginning, and then we decided to stop in the last moment, the second time, and I expected to see the soft tires on the car, and I was saw the other one. That was the mistake of my race.”
The purpose of doing such a long first stint was to allow him to finish the race on the soft tire like Fernando Alonso, who eventually finished fifth.
“Without this problem I would have finished easily in the top five. I would have get obviously behind Ricciardo, pass him in two corners, I would be behind Hamilton, I would pass him easily on a different tire, maybe one second quicker with a free track in front. That was a mistake.”
However, Massa rejected the idea of there being anything more sinister behind the error as he prepares to leave Ferrari at the end of the season.
“For sure not,” he affirmed. The team needs bonds, the team needs to score as many points as possible, you would never do that. It’s not really even close to my mind.
“I believe in the team and I will believe until the last moment. But today, the first thing I said: it was a mistake. That’s the thing, we could have scored more points today.”
Massa is still without a seat for 2014, but he is thought to be leading the race to replace either Pastor Maldonado or Valtteri Bottas at Williams next season. Nevertheless, the Brazilian driver will be disheartened that a simple error cost both him and Ferrari valuable points in Abu Dhabi.