Felipe Massa’s Ferrari seat under scrutiny

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Felipe Massa’s future at Ferrari has been thrown into doubt after team president Luca di Montezemolo admitted in an interview that he has spoken to the Brazilian driver about upping his game in the second half of the season.

So far in 2013, Massa has scored 61 points and claimed one podium finish at the Spanish Grand Prix, but he has failed to match the form of his teammate Fernando Alonso, causing Ferrari to fall behind Red Bull and Mercedes in the constructors’ championship. Despite being the second longest-serving driver in the team’s history, Massa’s future is somewhat uncertain.

“Felipe is a quick driver and a great guy,” Montezemolo explained to Corriere della Sera. “But in the past days, we were very clear with him: both he and us need results and points.

“Then, at some point, we will look one another in the eye and decide what to do.”

This is not the first time that Massa’s position with the team has come under scrutiny. The Brazilian driver came within one point of winning the 2008 world championship, but after a severe accident at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, he appeared to lose the ‘spark’ that saw him come so close to becoming Brazil’s first world champion since Ayrton Senna. However, this will need to be regained soon if he is to spend a ninth season with Ferrari in 2014.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.