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Chinese Grand Prix 2013: Massa mystified by mid-race dip
14 April 2013
The 2013 Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai could hardly have got off to a better start for the two Ferrari drivers, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa both jumping ahead of the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen off the line, and Massa also getting the jump on Nico Rosberg, last year's race winner in China.
Minutes later and Alonso was able to blast past polesitter Lewis Hamilton to take the lead - and Massa pulled off a lovely move down the inside of a distracted Hamilton to grab the second spot in the same move.
All was looking great for the two Ferrari cars - but where Alonso duly went on to claim the race win, Massa faded as the race went on and had to settle for a solid but nonetheless disappointing sixth place at the flag.
“It's difficult to understand exactly what happened today," admitted Massa afterwards. "The start went very well, I was immediately quick and the car was working perfectly.
"At the first stop, I fitted the medium tyres and after a few laps I began to suffer with graining on the front," he continued. "It was increasing every lap. At the end of the run, the graining cleaned up and I was doing quick lap times. It was a big problem which I had for the whole race.
"That meant I lost ground to other cars and it was probably down to a problem linked to the track conditions and my driving style," he added. "If we didn't have the issues, I think we had the big possibility to fight for victory so it's a shame to have this problem."
It was something he'd noted with concern in the days leading up to the Chinese GP, he revealed. "From Friday, I was never quick on the medium. I was always struggling with the fronts and today was the same because of the graining.
"All weekend, I haven't felt comfortable with these tyres and in the race, any attempts I made to save them was useless," he said. "But for this problem, I would certainly have been in the fight for the podium."
Looking on the brighter side, he added: "I am still confident because, all the same, I was able to bring home a good points haul which is important in a season that has only just begun."
"I am pleased with the result for the team as a whole today," said Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali. "However, I am sorry for Felipe who, because of graining, was unable to make the most of his potential, nor to secure the result he could have aimed for after his great start."
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