Sauber Duo Upbeat ahead of Race

Felipe Massa is confident of enjoying a strong French Grand Prix after qualifying in the top ten for his Sauber team

Sauber Duo Upbeat ahead of Race

"That was not too bad, I think," said Massa, who was tenth fastest but will start from ninth place following Kimi Raikkonen's engine change.

"I'm happy not just that I have a reasonable fuel strategy, but also that we have the right tyre choice for the race.

"I was a bit concerned about getting the best out of the tyres over one lap, but that was fine and with a top 10 start I believe I can have a strong race. The car is very good over long runs, and now I just need to make a good start.

"We have good pace for tomorrow."

The Sauber team, bought by BMW at the end of last month, have been showing good form all weekend at Mangy Cours and their strong showing in qualifying was completed by Jacques Villeneuve's effort.

The Canadian was happy after finishing right behind Massa and admitted he was not expecting to finish so high up given his strategy for tomorrow.

"Qualifying went very well for me, and I was faster than I expected to be," he said. "Considering my strategy, I'm happy to be within a tenth of Felipe. In the first high-speed complex I've had understeer all weekend, but on my qualifying lap suddenly there wasn't any.

"I had been expecting it, so I could actually have gone a little quicker had I known the car was going to be neutral through there, but elsewhere over the lap, apart from maybe saving a tenth under braking, there was nothing more to come. The car went really well.

"It was a good lap and I'm pleased with it, especially as I got the tyres nicely warmed, I'm in the top 10 and we have a good race strategy. It wasn't an aggressive one, so to be in the top 10 with a normal strategy bodes well for the race."

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