Massa ready to face the rivals
Maranello - Having spent a few days at home after Silverstone testing, I am now preparing to head back to England for the British Grand Prix and the chance to face our closest rivals on their home circuit in front of their home crowd. Although I have to say, I have always noticed that Ferrari seems to be very popular with the crowds here.
I like Silverstone which has been a good circuit for me, but I hope I don't have to have such a tough race as I did last year: I had a problem in qualifying, started from the back and had to work my way all through the field to finish fifth in the end. Last to fifth was not bad, but I would prefer to start from the front and stay there, rather than have to fight my way through the field. In fact, an F1 magazine has just done a survey that shows I did more overtaking than any other driver in F1 last year. In fact, I think I am right in saying that I was also the guy with the most overtaking moves in 2007. This year, I think that is also the case, especially if you look at how many cars I passed in Canada. That is part of my driving style, which is a bit aggressive. It's not so easy and to be honest I would prefer not to do any overtaking because I am in the lead, so this statistic can be seen as a negative as it means I need to overtake. We tested some new components and trying new things on set up and mechanical improvements. I was quite happy with it.
Although I like the fast and flowing nature of this circuit, apart from the final section, last year's fifth place was a repeat of my finishing position in 2006 and they are my best results at this event, so there is plenty of potential to finally do something better this time.
I am sure we will be competitive in the race. At last week's test, we tried some new components and assessed new things on set up and made some mechanical improvements. I was quite happy with the balance of the F2008, so it's looking good. But we must never underestimate our competitors because they are working very hard and it's all very close. I think in France, we never really saw the pace of the McLarens as they were always stuck in traffic, having started behind. So we cannot say we were so much stronger than them in Magny-Cours. Silverstone can throw up a few surprises and even if we don't have typical English rain, there can still be strong side winds even in warm dry weather and this means you have to be careful as the wind can catch you out and destabilise the car through some of the quick sections. But this is the same for everyone, so there is no reason to think I cannot have another good race weekend and finally make it onto the Silverstone podium on Sunday.
Massa: "I don't compare myself to Ayrton"
Silverstone - Felipe Massa arrived at Silverstone circuit today leading the world championship after his win at Magny-Cours a fortnight ago and the press wanted to know if that called for a different approach to the coming weekend. "Coming here leading the championship does not change much in terms of my attitude because there are so many races to go," said the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver. "Our work methods do not change at all, especially as there have been four different leaders already this year. But my aim is the same, which is to try and win the race. I don't think it will be easy with the uncertain weather and the strong competition. I think it is too early to say who is my strongest opponent amongst the three who are close behind me at the moment. Fighting against three drivers rather than having just one opponent close on points is actually a much tougher challenge, because if you have a difficult weekend, you can suddenly find yourself behind all three of them on points. They all have a chance of beating me and I would not say that one of them in particular has the best chance. I think it is very equal, but I do not feel under any pressure and I just get on with my work with the team to make the car as good as possible. I think I am ready to be world champion. I cannot say I am not ready given the position I am in, but I can only repeat that there is still a long way to go and this is the time to think about one race at the time, not the whole championship.
This is the ninth round of the year and the Brazilian could be on for a fourth victory on Sunday. "Looking for my fourth win of the season will be very tough here at Silverstone," reckoned Massa. "But every race is difficult as we know our competitors are working very hard, as indeed are we. We know there could be the further complication of bad weather so we have to concentrate on what we do in every practice session, qualifying and the race to make sure we do everything right. The test here last week was very important for us in defining a good base line from which to start this weekend. We did a lot of miles and that is the basis for being in good shape now. And I have to say that Silverstone is a nice circuit and the race always has a nice atmosphere as the English fans are very enthusiastic. I am hoping we will perform well in front of them."
Unusually for the usual Thursday media meeting, Massa was also asked about the influence on his career of his father. "My father has been the most important person in my career, coming to many races, but we are in touch every day, even if it is just on the phone," said Felipe. And more influences were evoked as Massa is the first Brazilian to lead the World Championship since the late Ayrton Senna. "I believe Ayrton is the best driver ever together with Michael and in fact it's very difficult to say which was better out of the two of them as they were both at a similar level. But I would say that Senna is an example of what a great driver should be. I don't make any comparisons between myself and Ayrton. I have tried to learn from what he did, but he raced in a different era and so there is not much to take from that. To be honest, I of course learnt more from Michael as I was his team-mate and he was a good teacher. " And finally, when a journalist asked Felipe how much money he should bet on the Brazilian being champion after the final race, Massa replied, "that's your problem my friend!"