Felipe Massa hit town on Wednesday night and made his way to the circuit on Thursday, with the first item on his agenda to speak to the media he had last seen just a few days ago in Montreal. Since that race, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver...
Felipe Massa hit town on Wednesday night and made his way to the circuit on Thursday, with the first item on his agenda to speak to the media he had last seen just a few days ago in Montreal. Since that race, the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver had been holidaying in Miami, a popular resort with the USA's Brazilian driver community.
The Brazilian began by recapping his Canadian GP. "Last Sunday in Montreal, finishing fifth after starting tenth is quite a good result," he claimed. "Early on in the weekend, when we saw the pace of our rivals, we realised we could not fight for pole, so we opted to concentrate on the race rather than qualifying. We knew we had to adopt a different strategy to our rivals and it worked to an extent, but they were definitely stronger than us."
But in F1, the past is never discussed for long and the subject soon turned to the US Grand Prix. "As for this weekend, as usual, I'm optimistic," said Massa. "We have to do our best. This is a race where Ferrari has always gone well and I hope we have a really great weekend. There's plenty of reasons to be confident. There has been talk that, after what happened last year, Michelin's tyre choice will be conservative, but we just have to think about our Bridgestones and not concern ourselves with what the opposition is doing. We just have to look forward."
Although the specially modified "for-F1" version of the famous Brickyard track is not generally regarded to be a classic, Massa still feels it offers a challenge. "This track is quite interesting because of the need to find the right compromise between the levels of aerodynamic downforce and the speed you need to get down the very long straight, while still having enough downforce to stick to the track in the really twisty infield section," he explained. "From a driver's point of view, it's not too difficult to drive, as you soon get used to the long straight and the other part is similar to more normal tracks that we are well used to. At least the long straight means you can overtake here."
Massa's predictions for this weekend? "When I say I think we can do well, I mean I expect to be able to fight for the win. It depends on whether or not our car-tyre package is good enough. It will be quite a tough weekend and on the reliability side we have to remember this is the second race for the engine, which has a very tough time here with the long straight and it has already been pushed hard in Montreal which is also a difficult circuit for engines. I hope we can fully exploit our reliability and our performance potential. There is talk of the possibility of rain here on Sunday, but to be honest, I don't think one set of conditions would suit us better than another. We can be competitive whatever the weather has to offer."
"Our target this weekend is to finish in front of Renault. The development battle between our two teams has gone both ways so far and hopefully it can swing back so we can have the advantage again. At the beginning of the year, we had some reliability issues, but then we got ahead of them and hopefully we can fight back now. The fact that Ferrari has always gone well here in Indy is another reason to be optimistic."