Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Massa delighted with podium return

Felipe Massa provides early evidence that he still has the character and the ability that saw him push Lewis Hamilton to within a point of the 2008 championship.

SAKHIR // Felipe Massa, observed zealously by 14 world drivers' champions and chased fruitlessly by a further three, provided early evidence that he still has the character and the ability that saw him push Lewis Hamilton to within a point of the 2008 championship. The Brazilian, in his first competitive appearance since a horrific accident eight months ago, enjoyed his best ever start to a Formula One season yesterday, finishing second at the Bahrain Grand Prix and ensuring a Ferrari one-two behind teammate Fernando Alonso.

The opening race in Bahrain attracted 18 of the 20 living world champions, with four of them competing in the 49-lap race. Only Alonso - a two-time winner with Renault - was faster than Massa, however, as McLaren-Mercedes' Hamilton crossed the line third and seven-time winner Michael Schumacher came sixth, one place ahead of last year's champion, Jenson Button. Yet the modest 29-year-old insisted his second-place finish - his best result in a season-opening race - was fortunate due to fuel problems.

"After what happened last year, it is very nice to finish in this position," said Massa, who started the race from second on the grid, but was immediately overtaken by Alonso. "It was a bit strange for me, because I lost an important position on the first corner to Fernando, but then managed to follow him for the entire time. "Early in the race, I started to have a problem in terms of temperature, so I started to save fuel with 30 laps to go and then there was nothing to do. I was lucky with the problems of Sebastian Vettel [who suffered a broken exhaust while leading] and I was also lucky that Lewis was not so quick at the end. I was able to save fuel and hold the position."

Hamilton was content with third in his McLaren, but knows improvements are needed. "I think overall it was a good day. It's a strong result for myself and the team and it is certainly a lot more than we expected," he said. "We are lacking downforce compared to the Ferraris and Red Bulls." gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 UAE’s Charlie Sargent tries to avoid a tackle by Singapore team members during the one-off Division 1 Test at The Sevens. The Singapore-born winger was making his debut. Sarah Dea / The National

Asian Five Nations: UAE go into rebuilding mode in Division 2

With a new look squad, including five emerging Emirati players, the UAE will hope to restructure and get into the winning habit in more forgiving climes when they drop a level in the revamped competition next season.

 Chelsea players argue with Atletico Madrid during their scoreless draw in the Champions League semi-final first leg match at the Vicente Calderon Stadium in Madrid, Spain on Tuesday. Gerard Julien / AFP / April 22, 2014

In pictures: Chelsea lock horns with Atletico in scoreless Champions League draw

Chelsea held Atletico Madrid scoreless at home on Tuesday as the two will head to Stamford Bridge for a winner-take-all second leg.

 Chris Gayle has been the most feared batsman in the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up since he joined the team in 2011. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Parthiv continues to fill Gayle’s big shoes for Bangalore

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman will continue to open the innings for Royal Challengers with the West Indian still nursing his bad back, writes Paul Radley.

 Ian Poulter is fifth on the points list to make the cut in a 12-man European side for the Ryder Cup. Paul Lakatos / AFP

Ian Poulter sees momentum in Europe’s squad-building, with Ryder

Lot of players are striking well to stay in contention for the 12 spots in the team, but there is still lot of time before September, he warns.

 Erykan Bityutsky pulls a 4x4 car during the final day of the UAE Strongman Competition in Dubai. Delores Johnson / The National

UAE Strongman Competition takes weight training to a whole new scale

Two-day competition in Dubai attracts men and women from across the Emirates and proves it takes more than just bulky muscles to win, writes Ali Khaled.

 Benfica's Oscar Cardozo, from Paraguay, lifts the trophy celebrating after beating Olhanense on Sunday at Estadio da Luz. Benfica's 2-0 clinched them the Portuguese Primeira Liga championship. They will play Juventus in the the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday April 24. Francisco Seco / AP / April 20, 2014

Ambitious Benfica ready for Juventus while Sevilla and Valencia set to battle in Europa last-four

Benfica, fresh off clinching their 33rd Portuguese title, are looking to keep Juventus from reaching the Europa League final - which will be played in Turin - while the other semi-final sees La Liga rivals Sevilla and Valencia clash.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National