23 August 2014
F1 Belgian Grand Prix: Brakes, traffic hamper Massa qualifying effort
Felipe Massa reveals he's like to try a different brand of brakes on his Williams after retardation problems deny him a shot in F1 qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Felipe Massa believes that he had the potential to qualifying closer to the front of the field for the Belgian Grand Prix had it not been for a combination of traffic and glazed brakes in Q3.
The Williams team had been the pre-weekend tip to threaten Mercedes at Spa-Francorchamps, but ended up qualifying only sixth and ninth on an afternoon blighted by frequent heavy rain, but Massa admitted that the conditions were the least of his worries as he attempted to move up the order.
“To be honest, the car was good today,” he reported, “We were competitive straight away - in Q1 and Q2 we were there, doing good lap times - but I had two problems [in Q3].
“First of all, my front right brake was glazed for the whole of qualifying, so I was struggling massively to brake in the heavy braking areas - corner one [La Source], corner four [Raidillon] and the chicane - although it was okay to do a reasonable lap. Then, in Q3, I had a lot of traffic, so I couldn't warm up the brakes in a good way, or warm the tyres in a good way. I started the lap not in good shape and went off the track on corner 17 [Blanchimont], which cost me at minimum half a second. For sure, I had the possibility to start more in the front.
“I think the car feels okay in the wet but we couldn't do the perfect lap. Straight away in Q1, I did an [2min] 08.1 and the track was better in Q3, but I did a 9.1... I just couldn't put a lap together.”
While catching traffic could maybe have been avoided, Massa revealed that is was not the first time that he had struggled with glazed brakes, and let slip that he was keen – and has asked Williams - to try the Brembos that he had previously used at Ferrari.
“It's not the first time we've had [the brake issue] this year,” he confided, “With the brakes we use in conditions like this, we've had this [problem] a few times, and it's not great to be honest. It's something we're still working on, because it's just very difficult to warm them up.”
Like a number of its rivals, Williams had prepared Massa's car for the drier conditions expected on raceday, when the Brazilian anticipates the majority of drivers opting for two stops, although one would not be impossible. However, he conceded, the conditions had not been the right ones in which to confirm the belief that Williams should have been 'best of the rest' behind Mercedes.
“We'll wait and see tomorrow,” he reasoned as he surveyed a grid that shows Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren mixing it with Williams in the top ten, “I think Ferrari was stronger than Red Bull in the dry, and they managed to improve in the wet.
“We qualified in the wet, so we need to wait and see. We've seen Red Bull strong in the wet every time, so it's not the proper conditions to be sure [of the pecking order]. We'll see how the race is tomorrow to be sure about things. I hope we can be stronger tomorrow and can fight with them.”
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