Korean GP: Felipe Massa eager to show true pace after grid breakthrough
|By Edd Straw and Simon Strang||Saturday, October 13th 2012, 16:21 GMT|
Felipe Massa believes that starting closer to the front of the grid for Sunday's Korean Grand Prix will help him access Ferrari's strong long-run pace right from the beginning of the 55-lap race.
The Brazilian, who is seeking to build momentum following his second-place finish in Japan last weekend, feels that finding speed in his Ferrari effectively during qualifying has been his weakest area in 2012. Massa has failed to make it into Q3 10 times this season.
But Massa starts Sunday's race from sixth position, having been just 0.3 seconds slower than team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Massa even hopes to able to fight with the Red Bulls for position in the grand prix.
"Red Bull has a quick car, quicker than our car in qualifying," he said. "McLaren was also a bit quicker than us in the qualifying.
"But I hope we can see similar to what we saw in the last race, that our car is operating much better in the race and then maybe the possibilities get bigger to fight these guys - hopefully be even in a straight fight."
Massa added that he felt having qualified more effectively was a further sign that he is making good progress as his form continues to improve.
"I didn't do a perfect lap, maybe with a perfect lap it would have been one or two positions further up," he said, "but I don't think it would have been much better than that.
"I think it's important to have put the car in the right direction for the qualifying, which is something that didn't happen in all the races for me. Starting in a better position definitely helps to use your pace from the beginning to the end.
"I hope tomorrow we can have a good start. The start here is always tricky at Turn 1, then you have a very long straight and then Turn 3 as well, many things can happen at. So it is important to be clever."
Asked whether he was concerned about starting immediately ahead of Romain Grosjean, who has been under fire for causing first-lap contact with other drivers on several occasions, Massa replied: "He needs to worry, not me, because he was in a bit of trouble at the starts.
"I think he has suffered already a lot with that. So I think he needs to be careful and he needs to understand how to do the starts.
"I will try to do the best - I always try, whatever driver I am alongside I don't think that's important.
"I hope he understood all these problems he had at the starts. He is a clever guy and he is a good driver as well. It's not a difficult thing to learn and to understand."