Massa: "something special between you and a circuit" A Turkish hat trick! That was a weekend to remember for a very long time. When you win three times in a row, it says something is special between you and a circuit. I always feel very ...
Massa: "something special between you and a circuit"
A Turkish hat trick! That was a weekend to remember for a very long time. When you win three times in a row, it says something is special between you and a circuit. I always feel very comfortable and very strong at this circuit and it is a track where I can be one of the quickest all the time, but I have also won twice in Bahrain, I won in Barcelona and Brazil and I want to win at other tracks as well. For sure, I had a great car last weekend and I think the team did a great job and so did I. It's a very special place to be and to keep winning at.
We have seen that qualifying is so important, so vital to what happens on Sunday, but I would not say my pole position lap on Saturday was my best qualifying of the year. There was Bahrain where I did a fantastic qualifying lap, having a very heavy car and setting the second fastest time and I also had a great qualifying in Malaysia to take pole there as well. To be honest, I feel quite strong in qualifying in general. If you look at my past record, qualifying has always been good for me, so I think the one in Turkey was just one of a series of good performances.
The main story of the race was the battle with Lewis, but of course, it was not quite as tough as it might have seemed to the casual spectator. In the early stages, the team told me he was running on a lighter fuel load than me, which was clear to see from the short pit stop he did. He was catching me very quickly but that was because he had maybe ten laps less fuel than me and that is the equivalent of around one second per lap. He was quicker than me by exactly the time that you can put down to what we call the fuel effect. I was competitive with him throughout the race, because if you look at the second stint when we were on similar fuel loads our times were also the same. When he was running light, he was doing what you would expect of a driver with a light car. Of course, knowing he was lighter and going to stop earlier and possibly even one more time, did not mean I was going to let him pass or make it easy for him to overtake. But also, I was not going to destroy my race by running it in such a way as to make sure I stayed ahead of him. So when he came alongside me very quickly having got a slipstream tow from me, he managed to pass me in a normal race scenario. Looking at his strategy, I was not too worried, because I knew it meant he would have the speed to pass me at that point. So I just kept my concentration and built the gap from when he stopped and then he came back at me again. However, after his second stop, we finally had the first real confirmation that he was definitely on one more stop, because he fitted the same type of tyres as he had used before and as the rules state that a driver must use both types of tyre provided for the weekend during a race, even if for a short number of laps, it was obvious that he would be making a third visit to the pits to fit the other tyres and taken on enough fuel to get to the flag. At this point, the game was over for Lewis in terms of winning the race.
Apart from my wife, I also had my father and mother with me in Istanbul, which is great, because I take a lot of strength from them and of course it was fantastic to have them with me to celebrate the victory. But one amusing story some friends told me is that the TV cameras would often focus on my parents in the Ferrari garage and this did not please them as they prefer to watch the race. Okay, but please understand that what the TV producer shows is not my decision!
There was one special event I was happy to attend at the Istanbul circuit and that was a reception for Rubens Barrichello to celebrate the fact that at the Turkish Grand Prix, he broke Ricardo Patrese's record for having competed in the most F1 Grands Prix, as this was Rubens' 257th start. Do I want to beat that record? It seems like a big challenge. It's true that I love racing and as long as that is the case I will continue to do it and it won't matter if I am 27 or 37. As long as I am competitive as a driver, I will race. If I am not then I will stop, because I am not in this sport just to be in Formula 1, I am here because I want to win. As long as I feel physically fit and competitive and as long as a team gives me the opportunity then I will race. But if I have any doubts, I will stop and I don't really think I will keep going long enough to beat that record. Also, these days there are so many very young drivers in F1 that I think it would be quite easy for some of those who have come into the sport in the last couple of years to reach this total without even being very old.
Anyway, after the win, I stayed in Istanbul, going to a nice nightclub in the city. It was a good fun night. I like Istanbul and it was especially nice to be out enjoying myself with Turkish people, having won the Turkish GP three times. Now I am back home in Monaco, but come the end of the week, I take the short drive down the French coast to Le Castellet as I am testing at the Paul Ricard circuit on Friday.