Q & A with Felipe Massa
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, October 9th 2008, 09:44 GMT|
Q. What are your thoughts on the championship after what happened in Singapore?
Felipe Massa: Well, I will just try to do the same. I will try to do a good qualifying, try to do a good first stint and then an even better second and third stint. We could not manage to do the second stint in Singapore for some reason, but that is part of life. So we are seven points behind, we still have a chance and for sure it is a little bit less than we are supposed to have, but we still have a lot of chance. That is the most important thing.
If we win or we lose, we win as a team and we lose as a team. So I am not the kind of guy who will go back and say it is the fault of somebody or the others. We are a team and that is the most important thing. We are strong, we can win and sometimes things happen - although unfortunately it happened so many times this season and we lost important points. But we are a team and we are working strongly and very, very hard to try to win again and try to win the championship.
Q. In the pit stop could you feel the hose?
FM: I didn't even feel a strange feeling when I was leaving (the pits). Usually when you have a shunt you have a strange feeling when these things happen, but this time there was zero as if everything was normal. After my engineer came on the radio and I looked in my mirrors and I was surprised as I didn't feel anything. I just saw the (green) light – and I didn't even see the red light afterwards because I was not even looking any more to the traffic lights, which is a shame.
Q. What do you think about the decision to switch to a lollipop?
FM: Well, I think it is the right decision. So, we had a problem in the last race and to be honest the big difference by having the lollipop is if there is a problem, or there is a mistake, then the guy with the lollipop can move the lollipop and make a huge shunt with your head – so then you brake. That is the only difference. But in terms of performance, the traffic light is quicker. We are always trying to have the quickest performance in every area, but unfortunately if you have a problem it doesn't help. That is the only reason why we go back to the lollipop.
Q. Would you have been happy to carry on with the light system?
FM: I was very comfortable with the lights. It (Singapore) was the first time we had a problem with the lights, and unfortunately we had it in the wrong time and the wrong moment. And it makes a big change at the end when you are leading the race and these things happen. If you are ninth and these things happen then nobody will care. When you are leading these things become more important, so we took the decision to go back to the lollipop.
Q. With you and the team still chasing the championship. What other changes have there been at the team?
FM: We have made a small step aerodynamically with the car, and that can give us slightly more compared to what we had at the last race. And the lollipop, and that is it. So the team are the same, and let's try to win races and win the championship.
That is the only thing that we can have in our minds at the moment, and everyone is pushing 100 percent to achieve what we want. So it is a shame. I don't like to go back and say we lost points here, we lost points there, we should have 40 points more than we have and we could have won the championship already. For sure, it is not the way I like to be – and I am not like that. We win and lose as a team and that is the most important thing.
Q. Will the championship be decided by who makes the fewest mistakes?
FM: I don't know. As I said we need to do it 100 percent right, we need to have a quick car – and that is for sure the most important thing that can make you win the race or give you more points than your competitor. For sure mistakes with three races to go are not a good idea, so we need to do everything right.
Q. What do you think about Lewis Hamilton as an opponent?
FM: I think he is a very strong driver. He is a very strong man, and for sure it will be very hard to fight with him – as he has been in many races this season and last season. But I think we are very strong as well. We have shown great performance as drivers, great car as a team, and that is for sure the most important thing for the last three races.
For sure it is always very difficult to come here and say we will win the last three races. You never know what is going to happen, but we have a big chance. We need to believe that, we need to believe it as a team. We need to do the best job we can, finish ahead of our main competitor and score as many points as we can and then we will see at the end of the season who was the most lucky and who was quicker. But that doesn't matter; whoever has the most points is the champion. That is the way it works.
Q. He says he likes to fight against you because you are Brazilian and you have passion?
FM: Yes, I am passionate. For sure I don't have problems to fight with anybody. I don't have problems to lose, because I know how to lose. We had so many great results, so I know how to win and I know how to lose. For sure, when you lose because your competitor did a better job than you, then you have to accept that.
But when you lose because you had a problem, that is a bit more difficult to accept. But that is the way it works, and we need to win and lose as a team. For sure the only thought I have in my mind is how to win the championship. But if not, then we will keep trying next year.
Q. Looking at the points difference in the championship, how crucial is Kimi Raikkonen's role?
FM: I think as a team, the job from everybody is very crucial. Me, Kimi, the mechanics and the engineers – everybody. Everybody has an important and crucial role until the end of the season. Let's try and do everything right.
Q. Can you describe your relationship with Lewis?
FM: I think we respect each other, and that is very important. I think he overtook me some times this year, and I also have done nice overtaking on Lewis. And that, for sure, makes respect on the track. So I have for sure nothing to worry about it in terms of driving. I am doing a good job, and I am thinking we are at a good level. Lewis is also at the very top level and we need to respect him as an opponent and driver – but we need to try to do better.
Q. Do you concentrate on your own thing now, so you don't say hello to him?
FM: You will never find me like that. It is not because I am fighting for the championship with him that I will not say hello, or goodbye, or whatever. As I said, we are fighting on the track. Outside I cannot say he is my best friend. We are not going out for dinner or whatever, but I am very friendly and respect him as a normal person.
Q. Lewis Hamilton has been talking about being conservative and not going for race wins now because he is focused on the championship. Does that give you an advantage mentally going into these three races?
FM: You never know. At this moment I am sure Lewis has a bit of an advantage because he has seven points more than me, but maybe we go to the next race and things will be different, or even more complicated. It is difficult to know, but you choose your style as you need it. It depends how your race goes, how your race started – so if you are in the position like you are scoring important points and more than your competitor, then for sure you need to look at the points and not risk anything. But if you don't have anything to lose, then you can risk.
That is the way it is. You have seen many races where I was happy with the points, and I just needed to finish the races, and in other races I needed to score points and I risked and it was good to risk.
Sometimes it is not good to risk, though. That is the way it works. Maybe we still have to take risks sometimes in these three races, it depends on the position we want. Maybe we don't need to risk anything, maybe we just need to finish the season. So, that is the approach you develop in learning how things go.