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Massa says defeat made him stronger

Felipe MassaFelipe Massa believes he has become a much stronger driver as a consequence of the extremely close 2008 title fight.

The Ferrari driver was pipped to the world championship by a single point when rival Lewis Hamilton grabbed the fifth place he required at the very last corner of the last lap of the deciding Brazilian Grand Prix.

When asked if he had emerged from 2008 as a stronger driver, Massa replied: "Definitely".

"We need to take it as a good example to make you even stronger, not as an example to make excuses," he told

"If we win, we win. If we lose, we lose. If we make a mistake, we make a mistake, and that's it.

"I think that it's also a good proof that the championship was great - we were fighting until the last corner - and we almost won. Almost is not enough, but I think we showed that we were very, very strong during the whole season."

He said he had learned a lot from the experience, and now hopes he can emulate Hamilton by winning the title one year after very narrowly missing out on it.

"I'm not the kind of guy who takes what's happened and brings it with me (negatively) for my life, because if you do that, you become a frustrated guy," Massa said.

"So I take it as experience, and a life experience. Sometimes life gives you something you don't expect, but for a reason.

"Even if you look at what happened with Lewis (Hamilton) in the first year, and then suddenly he became champion. Maybe he deserved to win more in 2007 than in 2008, but that's the way it is."

At a Shell South Africa press conference earlier in the day, Massa had added that last year had made him extremely aware of the importance of maximising every opportunity throughout the season - as he believed earlier points losses were more critical than the Brazilian GP result.

"It showed that you can never give up, things can happen even in the last laps, the last corner of the championship," he said. "Unfortunately this came in a kind of negative way because we lost the championship at the end of the race.

"But it showed that the championship is not decided at the last corner, it is decided over 18 races. So if you lost a point, even one point can be enough to lose the championship at the end.

"I think it's an extra push to be even more prepared for this season. For sure, I want to push even more, I want to be even more competitive and I want to win more races and fight for the championship again.

"Hopefully we can win. It would be better to win not in the last corner, but to be a little bit more comfortable."

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