In boiling hot conditions at the world famous, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the venue for this Sunday's second leg of F1's North American Felipe Massa met the media, just five days after having seen them in Montreal, after he had been disqualified...
In boiling hot conditions at the world famous, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the venue for this Sunday's second leg of F1's North American Felipe Massa met the media, just five days after having seen them in Montreal, after he had been disqualified from the Canadian Grand Prix.
"What happened five days ago?" he joked, when asked to recall his last race. "I don't remember or at least I don't want to remember so let's just look forward. It is very hot here in Indy, much hotter than at the last two races so I think we can expect a different result. I think our car will go much better here."
The rankings in the championship are always uppermost in the minds of the media, even though the series has not even reached its halfway point. "At the moment I am aware that the gap to the championship leader is quite big at 15 points and this is more concerning than the gap to the second placed man, as my target of course is to win," was the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro man's assessment of the situation.
"Now we must try and reduce the gap and then move ahead. I don't know how easy that would be to do because I don't know what goes on in the Hamilton-Alonso camp, but I do know what goes on here at Ferrari and that is that we are working very hard and in harmony with the will to win," he added when questioned about alleged conflict in the rival team.
"Here at Ferrari, there is a collaboration between myself and Kimi to improve and it is a hundred percent commitment. I known Kimi better now than I did at the start of the year and although he does not talk a lot, I feel we have a good working relationship and are both doing a professional job of working with the team to improve the car. He is what I expected he would be."
Massa's optimism for this weekend is partly based on the nature of the American track. "As for the F2007, I feel that on tracks with very little grip, like Monaco and Canada, it is a bit harder to find the right balance and get some grip. So I am happy to have got these two races out of the way."
"Here we have always been competitive and the track surface has suited us in the past. It will be very interesting to see how this weekend turns out as it will also give us a much clearer picture of the true situation. Naturally the car is the same as in Montreal, but while the aerodynamics might be similar to Canada we will be running a different set-up and different tyres.
"I prefer to think that something happened in these last two races in terms of track surface and temperature and that what has passed is passed, so I'm just looking forward. It is too easy to say we were just unlucky, to easy to find an excuse. We just did not do a good enough job."
"So we are not giving up and will fight right to the end. Whatever happens, I am confident we have a great car. I expect a good weekend. Last year, we had a difficult time up until this race but from here onwards, where we scored a one-two, we were very strong. So I hope I can change the way the championship has been going recently."
Felipe was eventually happy to take a quick look back at events in Montreal and the red light incident. "I believe the rules are the rules and so, as the driver, it was my fault because I did not look at the light and it was also a mistake from the team because they didn't tell me to look at the light. It won't happen again because we have added this situation to our checklist."
"But I also feel the rules are not so clear as they say you have to wait until the last car has passed the line, but as I came out of the pits I was the last car and the light was red, so it is possible that the guy controlling the red light wasn't quick enough, which would also be unfair on me. Two cars fighting for a good position were disqualified."
Finally, an unusual question for our Brazilian driver: would he like to drive in the 24 Hours Race at Le Mans which is also taking place in France this weekend. "It seems interesting and I really appreciate it and like what it involves, but it is not the sort of event I would want to take part in, because I don't like the idea of having to drive for so long. I prefer sprint races where you can push on every lap, rather than the strategic side of an endurance race."