Felipe Massa says there was nothing he could do to make it out of Q1 after suffering a fuel system issue during qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.

In the first part of qualifying, Massa was clearly off the pace due to what Williams discovered was a lack of fuel pressure. With the team unable to solve the issue from the pit wall Massa dropped out in 18th place and he said it was clear from the first lap that something wasn't right.

"The problem was there as soon as I went out of the garage," Massa said. "They were trying to change all the modes and all the buttons to see if we could go back to the normal working, but it was not. So it was a mechanical problem. They need to change the fuel pump and they are doing it now, so there was nothing really to do."

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However, Massa is not writing off his chances of climbing through the field, believing the Sochi Autodrom provides opportunities to pass on track.

"I think you have possibilities to overtake, yes. It's a track where you have two long straights, so there is the possibility to overtake. Unfortunately it would have been much better to start in the right place, then your race is much easier so you can be on your pace all the time. So we need to see what we are going to do tomorrow but I still believe that we can do a good race."

Head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley agreed that Massa has the pace to move forward quickly, with the car set up for overtaking in the race.

"I won't waver from my mantra that we have to beat the teams around us in the championship," Smedley said. "That is absolutely paramount. We have got one car in front of our direct competitors, and the other car isn't. But I think that with Felipe we certainly have the car pace and maybe being a little bit clever with what we do tomorrow then we can end up with both cars in front of our direct competitors."