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Team calls leave Massa and Di Resta wanting more

18 March 2013

Felipe Massa may have finished in fourth place in Melbourne in the first race of the 2013 F1 world championship and Paul di Resta a strong eighth place, but both men were less than happy after the Australian Grand Prix when it seemed that they lost out on even better results because of their respective teams' strategies.

In Massa's case, it was due the timing of the second round of pit stops for himself and Ferrari team mate Fernando Alonso, while the two cars were circulating behind then-race leader Sebastian Vettel.

"I'm not pleased," said Massa after the race. "When you are there fighting with a car and I was second and close to Sebastian and then suddenly a car behind stops..."

He admitted that he'd been caught out by Alonso's early stop, which allowed the Spaniard to leapfrog him when Massa's turn to pit came three laps later, by which point Alonso's run on fresh tyres and clear track had allowed him to pull out enough of a gap over the second Ferrari.

"He stopped pretty early to be honest," Massa said. "Looking at the degradation we had on Friday we had 15 laps on the tyre and he stopped after lap 11 on the tyre. It was a risk [for Alonso], but it worked," he admitted.

"The track improved after and it was much better to keep the pace with more rubber on the track and he didn't have any car in front," he continued. "You are always a little bit disappointed to lose two positions and then after I was always behind and trying to overtake and I was using a lot the tyres as well."

Despite missing a trick on Sunday, it was Massa's best start to a new F1 season since 2010 with the Brazilian looking back to his old form and the new F138 car looking impressively strong.

"I'm happy and the way we started the season was very positive. "If you compare to most of the teams it shows that our job to prepare the car over the winter was really good and in the right direction."

Paul di Resta meanwhile had an unspectacular but efficient run for most of the Grand Prix at Albert Park, while his Force India team mate Adrian Sutil had stolen the spotlight with his run at the lead of the race, thanks to running a completely different tyre and pit top strategy.

That left Sutil having to endure the supersoft option tyres for his final stint, and the German struggled for grip and dropped to seventh position in the closing laps - putting him right in di Resta's sights, as the Scot was running much faster on the medium prime tyres.

But di Resta was apparently told to hold station and bring home his car behind that of his slower team mate - much to his annoyance.

“I feel a bit robbed of a seventh place, given the way our strategy panned out,” he admitted. “Given the pace I had at the end of the race, and the difficulties Adrian was having with his tyres, I definitely had the pace for seventh.

“Of course, I'm disappointed with not getting seventh but, in the bigger picture for the team, it was a very important result in relation to the whole of the year," he added. "Getting two cars in the points is a great way to start the season."

Di Resta didn't explicitly confirm that he'd received actual team orders to hold off fro overtaking Sutil, and the team's deputy team principal Bob Fernley was equally careful with his choice of words.

“Paul was on the opposite strategy to Adrian and finished just a fraction behind Adrian in the end," he said. "He probably could have passed Adrian in the closing laps, but he held station to ensure we brought home the strong team result."


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