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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Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.