Massa not giving up on runner-up spot in constructors’ championship

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Felipe Massa believes that Williams could yet catch Red Bull for second place in the 2014 Formula 1 constructors’ championship despite trailing the title holders by almost 100 points with six races remaining.

2014 has been a remarkable year for Williams. After scoring just five points in the entirety of last season, the British team has bounced back in style thanks to its new image and Mercedes power units to currently rank third in the constructors’ ahead of Ferrari.

Despite the team’s main focus appearing to be its Italian rivals, Massa believes that its aspirations should be a little loftier, and told Reuters that catching Red Bull should be the goal to have, to finish as the best of the rest behind the dominant Mercedes works team.

“We’re planning to close the gap in every race to catch even Red Bull which is a bit far, but you never know,” Massa explained. “Everything can change pretty quickly in Formula 1 in two or three races.

“The situation is different. Maybe we have the opportunity to fight for the second place.”

Massa scored his first podium finish since joining Williams at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago, and he is hopeful of going back-to-back in the top three this weekend in Singapore.

“I think the work and the job we are doing this year is going very well,” Massa said. “So there’s still a lot to improve in the second part of the season and also next year.

“It was fantastic to be back on the podium. I hope we can carry on being back on the podium for most of the races.

“I think it’s [Singapore] always a difficult race, a different track. Not the best track for us. I really expect we can be competitive and I hope we can fight again for the podium.”

Towards the end of his time with Ferrari, Massa appeared to have the weight of the world upon his shoulders and seemed under pressure to live up to unrealistic expectations given the car he had underneath him.

Since joining Williams though, his F1 career has enjoyed a new lease of life, and had it not been for some bad luck this season, he would most probably be ranking higher than ninth in the drivers’ standings.

You can watch this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix live across NBC Sports’ networks. For more information, click here.

Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
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MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.