In a rather frank admission, Felipe Massa has conceded his pace during the F1 2011 British Grand Prix 'wasn't amazing', however he is convinced Ferrari has now turn a corner and made a 'step forward' in terms of performance.
Massa again spent the weekend playing second fiddle to his team-mate, Fernando Alonso, who eventually went on to win in the sister car. However while his own race was more difficult – possibly he speculated due to running over some debris which damaged the floor of his Ferrari – Massa did still take solid points, only just missing out on fourth, following that thrilling final corner battle with the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton.
“First of all, I want to congratulate Fernando, who drove a great race to give Ferrari a very important win. Sixty years ago, [Froilan] Gonzalez won for the first time and today history has repeated itself,” Massa reflected. “I think we have made a step forward this weekend in terms of performance, both in qualifying and the race.
“It's true my pace wasn't amazing today, but that could have had something to do with the fact my floor was damaged, after I hit something at Turn 6; maybe a part from another car. In terms of the strategy, maybe we could brought forward the second stop a bit, but the team did not want me to end up having to complete the final part of the race on tyres that were too worn.
“In the end, I closed right up to Hamilton, as he was struggling, but when I was behind him, he fought and I only just missed out by a fraction on getting past him.
“We have to continue to push on the development of the car now: there are many races still ahead of us and having improved the car means we can feel more confident about the second half of the season.”
Ferrari chassis director Pat Fry meanwhile was also encouraged by the team's pace and he insisted the updates to the car were the reason for this improvement, rather than the chaos caused by the row over off-throttle blown diffusers.
“It's very satisfying to get the first win of the season here, on a track that definitely did not suit us that well. Putting to one side the entire saga regarding exhaust gases, I think our performance today was mainly down to seeing the benefit of the improvements we have introduced race after race, especially here, where we had so many updates aimed at increasing performance on tracks that have these characteristics,” Fry confirmed.
“For that, I want to thank everyone who has worked so hard in Maranello over the past weeks to close the gap that was there at the start of the season. We were not particularly quick on the intermediates, but probably Fernando wanted to avoid pushing too hard in the opening laps in order to look after the tyres.
“We also had a few difficulties when we switched to the dry tyres because, as the track was still damp, they did not get up to temperature immediately, but after that our pace was very good. Again today our pit stops were very good and even this is an area where we introduced improvements that delivered results. Maybe we didn't get the calls quite right when it came to Felipe's strategy, leaving him out on track a few laps too long.
“Now we must continue working this way though and turn up in Germany with a car that is even quicker.”