x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

A stop-start day has Ferrari's Massa frustrated

The Brazilian believes a three-stop strategy would have given the team a better placing than sixth at the Chinese Grand Prix

Felipe Massa dropped down the order as his tyres wore down yesterday.
Felipe Massa dropped down the order as his tyres wore down yesterday.

A frustrated Felipe Massa said he believed a three-stop strategy, instead of the two they made, would have given Ferrari a better result than his sixth-place finish in yesterday's Chinese Grand Prix.

The 29-year-old Brazilian driver produced his best result and performance for some time and ran as high as second for long periods before fading tyres in the final laps saw him fall down the order.

"Even the guy who dominated the race, which was Sebastian Vettel, didn't win because of his strategy, which was the same as mine," Massa said.

"It shows that we didn't pick the right one. My pace on the soft [tyres] was great, even similar to Sebastian, and we took that as a consideration that maybe we were able to do one less stop.

"Looking at everybody stopping straight away, we took the decision already in the first stint and unfortunately it didn't work like we expected."

But Massa said he was happy with his personal performance, coming home one place ahead of his teammate and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso as he showed glimpses of the pace that has seen him win 11 races in the past and finish runner-up in the world championship in 2008.

"It was the best race for me this year - one of the best compared to last year as well," he said.

"It's a shame because we could have finished in the top, and it was not possible."

Alonso shared his teammate's view that two stops had been the wrong way for Ferrari to go on strategy, but did not believe it would have made any difference to his overall placing of seventh, his third successive finish outside of the podium places.

"Unfortunately, our race pace was too slow and I don't think that a different strategy would have changed anything," he said.

"I've had better Sundays in my career, but I won't get downhearted or lose confidence."

The Spaniard, who missed out on last year's championship by four points, believes Ferrari should look to McLaren-Mercedes and Mercedes GP for inspiration as both teams recovered from looking uncompetitive in pre-season testing to be fighting at the front of the field.

"We know we have to improve to get to the front: McLaren and Mercedes have managed it and there is no reason to think we can't do the same," he said. "Clearly, aerodynamics is our Achilles heel at the moment and that's what we have to work on the most."

* Compiled by The National staff with agency