Felipe Massa believes Mercedes will be challenged more closely at the Russian Grand Prix than it has been at previous races.

Lewis Hamilton led home team-mate Nico Rosberg in a comfortable one-two at Suzuka last weekend, while the last time Mercedes failed to win a race was at Spa in August. However, asked if he felt Mercedes would be too far ahead to catch in Sochi, Massa replied: "I think less than other tracks.

"I think the other teams will be closer compared to Mercedes. I hope we will be as well, so we'll wait and see. Definitely they have the quickest car on the track but I hope we can be closer compared to the other races."

Related Articles

And Massa believes Williams could be one of the teams that is in with a chance of competing with Mercedes after an encouraging Friday of practice.

"I think it was a good Friday for us. The car shows itself to be competitive, shows to be consistent, so I was pretty happy with the balance and definitely it was just the first day but I think it was a very good day for us. So I hope it's just the first impression of a good weekend for us."

Massa also said he had yet to try and optimise his car because the track evolution was proving so great from FP1 to FP2.

"I don't think you really need to think about the set-up changes because the track is improving a lot more than what you can improve on the set-up. So I think you need to wait for improvements on the track to understand where you need to work on the set-up. More or less the balance was OK today; I was struggling a little bit in the morning but much better this afternoon. Sure it's something we can improve for tomorrow but it's not so bad."