Felipe Massa is convinced that he could have won the Canadian Grand Prix without the delay at his first pit-stop.
The Williams driver was running ahead of eventual winner Daniel Ricciardo when he made his first scheduled stop for fresh Pirellis but a problem with the changeover cost him precious time and allowed the Australian ahead through the middle part of the race. Although he later assumed the lead when both Mercedes drivers hit problems and then attempted to go the remaining distance on his tyres, Massa was forced to pit a second time, again dropping him down the order as Ricciardo assumed the role of main threat to the hobbled Nico Rosberg.
The Brazilian's race eventually ended in a huge shunt after he tangled with Force India's Sergio Perez while attempting to chase down a potential podium finish on the penultimate lap, but the veteran remains confident that he could have taken the victory had it not been for his first stop.
“I think so,” he sighed, “Honestly, I was the quickest car on the track most of the time. Not with the supersoft - on that tyre, I had a similar pace to [team-mate] Valtteri [Bottas] - but, with the prime, the car was amazing, really, really quick. Without this problem in the pit-stop, I think it was totally possible to be in front of Ricciardo.”
Asked whether the second stop was necessary to endure that he made it to the finish, Massa conceded that he had had no option but to take on fresh rubber for the closing stages.
“I started to lose grip on the rear and, knowing that normally degradation is not low on our car, I'm sure I would have been very slow at the end of the race,” he explained, “I think the decision was correct to stop.”
Having made the second stop, Massa again underlined the pace of the Williams by scything back through to the leading group, and was challenging Sebastian Vettel for fourth position shortly before the German was able to find a way past the struggling Perez. It was while he was attempting to follow the Red Bull past the Force India that Massa and Perez tangled, with both drivers ending their race in the tyre wall.
“I wasn't thinking about the victory,” Massa said of the closing stages, “I couldn't see the Mercedes very well and I didn't see that Lewis [Hamilton] had retired, so I thought it was a fight for the podium. They didn't tell me about the Mercedes problems.”
Regardless of the position he was aiming for, however, Massa admitted that it had been an opportunity missed for the Williams team.
“We lost a lot of points,” he sighed, “We had an incredible car, and I'm so disappointed because it would have been a fantastic race. [I had] no problems at all in the car and it was a good track for us, so we missed so much.
“It was possible to win the race - when I was in free air I was the quickest car on the track so it was a big opportunity - but we have a very good car so I hope we can be competitive again like we were today.”