17 April 2015
F1 Bahrain Grand Prix: Ferrari gains masking Williams form, says Massa
Felipe Massa insists the gap to Mercedes and Ferrari doesn't represent a 'disaster' but admits it needs to make gains in tyre management.
Felipe Massa believes the big step forward Ferrari has made over the winter has disguised Williams' own form having struggled to match it or Mercedes over the opening rounds.
Having ended the 2014 F1 season as arguably the second strongest team behind Mercedes, many tipped Williams to continue that form into 2015. However, as yet it is unable to match the strong form of Ferrari, particularly over a race distance, with neither Massa nor Valtteri Bottas scoring a podium as yet.
Nonetheless, Massa says that shouldn't be construed as Williams having a tough time, saying it is only Ferrari's form that has essentially changed.
“The only thing that changed was Ferrari compared to everybody,” he said. “In Melbourne we were a little bit slower, we were maybe better in the qualifying, but even in the last qualifying [in China] we were qualifying both cars in the middle of the two Ferraris.
“We are in the fight in the qualifying, but Ferrari is the only team that makes a big gap between qualifying and the race, so Ferrari took more than a second, maybe a second, compared to Mercedes in the last qualifying compared to the race.
“One second, I tell you, is a lot of time. I think Ferrari is maybe the team that has the tyre usage in a complete different way to everybody, and for sure we are working to get as close as we can, but they use the tyres in a complete different way and they have a lot less degradation than everybody - even compared to Mercedes, because if you take one second in the qualifying and you are in the same pace in the race, even compared to Mercedes they are better.
“I think they are the only team that makes that gap from qualifying to the race and for us it was not easy to have the same pace because we couldn't, until now, use the tyres in the same way.”
“We are third in the championship as well, so it's not that we are having a complete disaster at the beginning of the season, it's not correct to say that, we just need to see if we can fight with the Ferrari because Mercedes is already far, but Ferrari is not far from Mercedes.”
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