Massa relieved to return to winning ways

Felipe Massa admitted he was relieved to finally a win a grand prix in 2008 after failing to finish in the first two races of the season

Massa relieved to return to winning ways

The 26-year-old Ferrari driver, who dominated the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday leading home a one-two finish for his team ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, has come under pressure after making unprompted mistakes in both Australia and Malaysia.

Massa admitted in Bahrain that these had played on his mind as he raced towards the win.

"For sure, I didn't have very easy [last few] weeks but that is life, it is not the first time and it won't be the last," he said. "You always have some bad days in your life, I had two bad days in the first two races.

"I know we are quick and when you make a mistake and are behind something is wrong, but when you make a mistake and fight for a win it is bad.

"This race was quite difficult, I didn't want to make any mistakes, I wanted to bring the car home and control the pace, I had all the time in my mind what happened in the last race and I am sure that is normal, and what is in my mind now is the victory."

Massa lost out on pole to BMW's Robert Kubica, but argued afterwards that his qualifying performance had been vindicated when the Polish driver stopped earlier than the Ferraris in the race.

"I think it was a good qualifying as well, looking when Robert stopped and we were pretty strong," he said. "It didn't change anything starting second, we had a good start Robert had not a very good start, and I passed him.

"The race was really difficult in the beginning because there was a lot of oil on the track, and me and Robert both went off. It was pretty difficult, and during the race the car was very, very good, I didn't push completely to the limit, I saw the gap increasing and Kimi was behind, but I could keep the gap to him and this traffic was perfect as well."

Massa scored his third career victory at the same circuit 12 months ago and said on Sunday that he loved driving at Bahrain.

"I love this circuit, a second victory in a row, I always go strongly here," he said. "I almost won pole position on my debut for Ferrari [two years ago] and then I had a not very lucky race, but always very, strong, I like the circuit, we are always welcome here, so it is nice to be here and get the second victory."

His win moves Massa up to sixth in the drivers' standings, nine points behind world championship leader Raikkonen, and the Brazilian predicts that Ferrari is well placed to take on a close title fight.

"For sure it is a close season," he said. "Barcelona we like to go to because our car behaves well on these type of track, and hopefully when we get to Monaco we can see if it improved in slow corners compared to last year.

"I think we are in good place for the races coming up."

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