F1 » 22 June 2012
Massa 'can be F1's eighth winner'
Felipe Massa has thrown his hat into the ring as a possible contender for victory in this weekend's European GP.
Such is the unpredictability of the 2012 F1 season that Ferrari's Felipe Massa is not ruling out the possibility that he could be the man to extend the sport's record-breaking sequence of different winners.
The first seven grands prix of 2012 have produced seven different winners and if anyone thinks of scoffing at Massa's optimism, they need only to remember that winner number five was Pastor Maldonado, a driver both written off as paying for his drive and being too erratic to ever resist the pressure of leading from the front, especially against Fernando Alonso in Barcelona....
Massa has not won an F1 race since 2008 - the year before he suffered life-threatening head injuries in a qualifying accident at the Hungaroring - and not appeared on the podium since the inaugural Korean GP in 2010, but the Brazilian remains sufficiently confident that he can upset the formbook and triumph in this weekend's race in Valencia.
In fairness, the 2008 championship runner-up has shown improved form of late, scoring in three of the past four races and qualifying sixth for the recent Canadian Grand Prix as Ferrari's F2012 has been developed towards his driving style, and he already knows what it takes to win in Valencia, having claimed both pole and victory there in the first European Grand Prix to be run around the city's scenic America's Cup port.
"We have changed many things on the car, starting with developments that make it better and easier for me to drive," he confirmed, "Now I feel the car is much more comfortable to drive. When you start the weekend happy with the car, then it helps everything, even the psychological point of view.
"Can I be that eighth winner? If you look at how many things have changed in this year's races, with strategy and other situations, then many drivers have the chance to win - and, sure, I put myself in this category. I would be very happy to be the eighth winner."
According to Reuters, bookmaker William Hill does not yet share Massa's optimism, listing the Brazilian at 50-1 behind both Sergio Perez (33-1) and Romain Grosjean (12-1), neither of whom have yet tasted victory in the top flight.
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