10 June 2015
Massa: We can still challenge Ferrari
Felipe Massa believes that, with Mercedes yet to upgrade its F1 power unit, Williams can continue to battle for the podium with Ferrari.
Felipe Massa is confident that Williams can be a thorn in Ferrari's side going forward, despite the Scuderia upgrading its engine ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Italian team arrived in Montreal having spent valuable tokens on developing its V6, and appeared to have taken a small step forward during the early stages of the weekend. However, problems for Sebastian Vettel and a mid-race spin for Kimi Raikkonen masked the true potential of the changes, allowing Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to run free at the front of the field.
Massa, meanwhile, had his own issues in qualifying, with the wastegate malfunctioning on his Mercedes power unit, but charged through the field with Vettel to finish sixth after 70 largely uneventful laps.
Comparing their performances – and reflecting on the fact that Raikkonen's error allowed Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas to claim the squad's first podium of the season – Massa was optimistic that Ferrari remained within reach, especially with Mercedes retaining greater freedom to upgrade its own power unit, developments that would be shared immediately with its customers.
“Looking that they had this upgrade on the engine and the difference is still similar, I think it shows that we can still fight [Ferrari],” Massa claimed, “We should have an upgrade on the car in the next race and I hope we can catch Ferrari even more.
“I don't know when Mercedes will put some upgrades on the engine but, when they give some upgrades, maybe we can even get stronger in that area.”
With the Austrian Grand Prix next on the schedule, Massa is hoping for a repeat of 2014, where the Martini-backed cars annexed the front row,
“I think things are going in a good line,” he noted, “After this race, there is an important moment for us, as we have a good track for us in Austria [and] there's an upgrade coming. I think it's a good moment for us to put some pressure on Ferrari.
“I believe we still have a very, very strong engine, so we're not losing anything. I don't know how much their upgrades will give - they improved in this race, but I think we are in good shape as well.”
“We only did a bit of fuel saving, but it was still okay to be quick. It's part of the job and, sometimes, you need to do it, but this is one of the worst tracks for that, so I'm sure it will be less of a problem at the next tracks.”
Indeed, with Silverstone following the Red Bull Ring, the next couple of races should benefit Williams, with only the more tortuous Hungaroring looming as a potential stumbling block for the Grove-based team.
“I hope we have less problems there, for sure not like Monaco,” Massa reasoned, “We should have some upgrades on the car which I hope will help for that track, so we need to wait and see. I think it will be maybe the biggest upgrade we have during the season.”
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