Felipe Massa has not stood on the top step of an F1 podium since taking victory on home soil in 2008 but, following his strong start to 2013, has his eyes set on breaking the drought at the most famous race of them all.
Although he missed a chunk of the 2009 season following his accident at the Hungaroring, Massa's lengthy Ferrari career also means that he holds the unwanted record for the most races without a win for the Prancing Horse, but a competitive car and a first podium of the season has given him an extra boost heading to this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.
“This year, we are more competitive and, of course, this is a track where grid position is more important as it is so difficult to overtake,” the Brazilian noted, “If you start behind a car that does not have your race pace, you can lose any chance of fighting for the win, so I hope we can be competitive in qualifying this weekend. It is the situation where we know our car is not the quickest on track, but I feel we have improved the car a lot since last year, when qualifying was even worse than now.”
Although Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso, who already has two wins under his belt this season, has tipped Mercedes as the team to beat, both in qualifying and the race, Massa insists that the Scuderia can be a force.
“It is not impossible for us to get onto the front row here, if you can do a perfect lap and everything works at its best, but I believe we can be competitive in the race,” he maintained, “That's partly because I have always preferred the softer tyres which we race on here, rather than the harder ones in the range, but we definitely have a car that is very good under braking, a car that is very good in high speed corners – although there aren't many of those here – and a car that is good from a tyre wear point of view.
“It may not be the best [car], but good all the same and we hope that these qualities could be good enough to see us win here, or at least make it to the podium. After a long time without, I really want that victory and I am pushing harder than ever.”