4 November 2013
Massa frustrated with final tyre call
Felipe Massa: We made a mistake at the end. I didn't expect to use the medium tyres in the last stint as well. I expected to use the soft...
Felipe Massa has criticised Ferrari and believes he would 'easily' have finished in the top-five in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had the team put him on soft tyres following his second and final stop.
Massa had to settle for eighth at the chequered flag and the Brazilian pulled no punches at the finish, telling reporters it was clearly a 'mistake' to put him on the medium compound tyres, given he had done 19 laps on the softs at the start, and there was only 17 laps to go when he made his second trip to the pits on lap 38.
“We made a mistake at the end,” Massa confirmed. “I didn't expect to use the medium tyres in the last stint as well. I expected to use the soft. I did 19 laps at the beginning of the race and was the best car on the soft and then we decided to stop at the last moment the second time. I expected to see the soft tyres on the car and I saw the other ones.
“That was the mistake of my race - it would not have been a problem to do the same [use the soft tyres] in the final part of the race [as we had done at the start]. Without this problem, I would have easily finished in the top five.
“It is a real shame. I would have got completely behind [Jean-Eric] Vergne and passed him in two laps. I would have passed [Lewis] Hamilton easily on the new tyres too because I would have been one second quicker. That was the mistake. I didn't discuss the strategy with the engineers because I thought the decision was obvious.”
“This [P8] is not the result we deserved,” he added. “It is frustrating and I'm not happy. I am still pleased with my performance though. I did a great race and I was competitive from start to finish and pulled off a lot of passing moves with a car that handled well. Now we head for Texas and Brazil, two tracks that on paper should suit our car better and where I hope I can continue to be competitive.”
Asked if Ferrari had deliberately put him on the mediums, so as to allow team-mate, Fernando Alonso to finish ahead, Massa replied: “For sure not. They need these points and need to score as many as possible for the Constructors' [to get back ahead of Mercedes and into second place]. The team would never do something like that to me. I believe in this team and will believe in them until the last moment [in Brazil later this month, my final race with Ferrari].”
Ferrari technical guru, Pat Fry meanwhile defended the decision to put Massa on the mediums by saying they were playing it safe.
“Initially, we had thought of running just a one stop race, but when we realised that that the wear rate of the mediums in the second stint would not have allowed us to go all the way to the end, while doing competitive times, backed up by our simulation systems, we told Fernando and Felipe to go flat out, as they would need to make a second stop. With Fernando, we managed to get to lap 44 which meant he was able to run the softs to the end of the race. Unfortunately, we couldn't do the same with Felipe and with him we chose not to risk it, keeping him on the mediums. It was a real shame,” he said.
“The two F138s proved they had a good pace, however, definitely better in the lower temperatures and both drivers were involved in close fights and made spectacular passing moves," Fry continued.
"In the last two races, we must now improve, especially in qualifying, because only by starting further forward can we put ourselves in a position to fight [with Mercedes] for second place in the Constructors' Championship,” he concluded.
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