Massa ready to fill Raikkonen's shoes at Sauber

Motorsport.com - The next generation of stars is beginning to move into Formula One, as young Brazilian promise, Felipe Massa, impressed Sauber in a test at Mugello this week. Massa is set to follow in the footsteps of Nick Heidfeld, Kimi ...

Motorsport.com - The next generation of stars is beginning to move into Formula One, as young Brazilian promise, Felipe Massa, impressed Sauber in a test at Mugello this week.

Massa is set to follow in the footsteps of Nick Heidfeld, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and Alex Yoong in transforming the current series' driver scene to a much younger one.

The 20-year-old set a fastest time of 1:23.79, faster than the times set last month by Ferrari drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello in their tests last month.

"I have a lot to learn about F1 and the C20, but I liked the speed and I've been getting used to it, said Massa. "Today I have improved on the high-speed corners and in the esses as well."

Massa's best lap was on the order of the laps set by the current Sauber young star, Raikkonen, in a February test, after Raikkonen had performed several months of testing for Sauber.

"[Massa] was very focused and we were pleased that he did not fall into the trap that is common with inexperienced drivers of trying to run too long on each outing," said Willy Rampf. "His times came down very nicely."

Massa is assisting Sauber in getting ready for the United States Grand Prix, as Raikkonen will no longer perform testing for Sauber, due to his pending move to Team McLaren at the end of the season.

Further cementing his claim to a Sauber seat next year, alongside Heidfeld, the current F3000 champion also brings to the table substantial personal sponsorship from Brazil.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Alex Yoong , Felipe Massa
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren