Felipe Massa has played down suggestions that Ferrari should put its weight behind him in the race for the 2008 Formula One title and insisted that his focus is firmly on continuing the kind of form that saw him secure victory in the European Grand Prix in Valencia.
Massa stormed to victory on the streets of Valencia to move up to second in the drivers' championship, six points behind Lewis Hamilton with the same amount of races still to run this year. The win was the Brazilian's fourth of the year and came after he dominated the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest only to lose the win when his engine failed in the closing laps.
With Kimi Raikkonen now 13 points behind Hamilton following his retirement in Valencia, and with the defending champion having failed to win since the Spanish Grand Prix back in April, calls have been made in the Italian press for Ferrari to focus its attentions on Massa in a bid to secure a second straight drivers' title, although the man himself said he was simply focusing on the things within his own control.
"My win in Valencia moves me ahead of Kimi into second place in the championship," he said. "I've been asked by some media if I feel Ferrari should favour me for the title now there are just six races remaining: all I can say to this is that I want to keep winning, to keep beating not just my team-mate but the others too.
"Decisions like this are nothing to do with me. I just do the best job possible for the team and leave the rest to the team management."
Although he proved to be the man to beat around the Valencia circuit over the course of the weekend to move up to second in the standings, Massa added that the harbour circuit in the Spanish city possibly hadn't been as good as some had expected prior to the event.
"As for the circuit itself, it actually looked much better on paper than in real life!" he said. "On paper it seemed really interesting, but the race itself did not provide as much overtaking as we had maybe expected. However, leaving aside racing, the actual driving on this track was fun and it is better than many other tracks, thats for sure.
"Before we went there, there was a lot of talk about the high potential for accidents and the possible intervention of the Safety Car, but it didn't happen. I think the track was better than expected in this respect. Personally, I was glad there were no caution periods in the race as my strategy hadn't been based on the possible arrival of the Safety Car.
"This time I chose a fairly aggressive race strategy as I had a very competitive car. When you choose a very aggressive strategy and you're not sure if you're going to start from pole position, it is always a potentially difficult situation as your strategy could work against you if you do not meet your qualifying target. When you know you have a quick car, you really have to do all you can to get pole as it is the best possible way to go into the race."