Massa: Williams winning the fight to be best of the rest

3 Comments

Felipe Massa believes that Williams is winning the race to be the ‘best of the rest’ in 2014 behind the all-dominant Mercedes team.

The Brazilian driver has suffered a great deal of hard luck so far this season, with the latest incident seeing him get taken out on the first lap of the British Grand Prix. Across the garage, teammate Valtteri Bottas stormed to second place in the race, and Massa is sure that this proves the team’s position as second quickest to only Mercedes.

“I think so,” the Brazilian said. “Honestly the car was so competitive in the race, so we couldn’t be so competitive in the practice because we changed something on the setup which was not positive, then we went back to the car we had in Austria and the car was competitive in the race – unfortunately not for me because I couldn’t do the race.

“But for sure it was a very positive result for us because it shows the car was the quickest car in Canada apart from Mercedes, and also the second quickest in Austria just after Mercedes, and even here, so I think that’s really positive for us, and I hope we get to Germany and we have also the second quickest team.”

Williams currently sits fourth in the constructors’ championship, trailing Ferrari by just three points. For Massa, this kind of form will put the British outfit in good stead to take the fight to the Italian marque and to second-placed Red Bull, but he did not feel that the test at Silverstone on Tuesday will have contributed to the performance in Germany.

“I think this can be important to recuperate points and put the team in the big fight for the top three positions in the constructors’ championship,” he noted.

“The testing today is a little bit different. The testing today was also trying something, some ideas for the future, maybe even next year, and just doing some laps as well, so I didn’t do so much for Hockenheim but the car shows good pace straightaway so it was good to feel the car like that.”

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

Leave a comment

Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.