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Massa worried by grid promotion

Felipe Massa secured seventh place in qualifying on Saturday, but was less than thrilled to learn that a penalty elsewhere in the top 10 would bump him up to sixth place on the grid.
Normally, being handed an extra grid position for the start of a race would be a cause for celebration. But that's not the case this weekend for Felipe Massa, after he was promoted up to sixth for the start of the 2012 United States Grand Prix in Texas.

Massa had qualified in seventh place, but news that the Lotus of Romain Grosjean was to take a five-place grid penalty ahead of the start of the race on Sunday means that he gains a spot - but that puts him on the wrong side of the grid as far as the Brazilian is concerned.

"It's the first time we're not happy about gaining a grid position!" he admitted after learning where he would start the race from. "Starting from the dirty side of the track is definitely not helpful."

Dust and dirt off the racing line has been one of the major issues at the brand new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and some teams are predicting that starting from the 'wrong' side of the grid off the cleaned-up racing line could cost drivers two positions off the line in the run up to turn 1.

Massa did at least have the satisfaction of out-qualifying the Ferrari team leader Fernando Alonso, who will start immediately behind him on the grid from eighth - also handicapped by being on the dirtier side.

"This qualifying was pretty much a lottery," explained Massa. "The lucky number is always the last one! With this type of tyre on this asphalt one struggles to get the tyres up to temperature and one has to lap continuously before being able to set a good time. In Q2, we managed it, but in Q3 things did not go as well: it's never easy to do the perfect lap with so little grip."

"A very difficult qualifying, there's no doubt about it," agreed Ferrari's technical director Pat Fry. "The tyre-asphalt combination created conditions that were very difficult to interpret and we probably struggled more than others."

Ferrari have set a trend in 2012 for underperforming in qualifying but then driving above expectations on race day. They'll have to do the same in Texas if the team is to keep Fernando Alonso's title hopes alive for another week.

"It will definitely not be an easy race for us, given the grid positions of our main rivals," admitted Massa. "But we must stay focused because all the same, tomorrow will be hard for everyone. We will have to do our utmost and then we will see how it goes."

"Clearly we can expect a very complicated Sunday, but there's no point crying over spilt milk," said Fry. "We must just try and do our utmost to give our drivers the chance to run as good a race as possible.

"From what we can see over these past two days, tyre degradation seems rather low, therefore it's more than likely we can expect just one stop, so that's probably one less variable in terms of the strategy," he added.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
17.11.2012 - Free Practice 3, Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
17.11.2012 - Qualifying, Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
16.11.2012 - Free practice 2, Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
17.11.2012 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
27.07.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
27.07.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T leads Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
27.07.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10 and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
27.07.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T leads Adrian Sutil (GER) Sauber F1 Team C33
27.07.2014- Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36 leads Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
27.07.2014- Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36 leads Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB10 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36 leads Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
27.07.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T leads Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9

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Ed - Unregistered

November 18, 2012 1:11 PM

I won't take that bet but I will guarantee that Massa will pit the worst possible time (either too late or too early) so it can help Alonso in the race and then, at the end of it all, everyone will say: "Wow... Alonso is such a great driver! Started behind his team mate and finished ahead... again!!"

Dave S - Unregistered

November 18, 2012 1:04 PM

Anyone else willing to bet that Massa will mysteriously need to change his gearbox thus earning a 5 place grid penalty, which will put Alonso a place ahead and also move him to the clean side of the grid?



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