Felipe Massa reckons a poor first pit stop cost him the chance to finish on the podium today in Malaysia.

Massa started the second round in the F1 2011 World Championship from seventh, and while he got ahead of his Ferrari team-mate, Fernando Alonso and Vitaly Petrov in the early stages, and was running fifth, he slipped down to eighth when he pitted on lap 13. Although he eventually battled back and finished up in P5 again, the Brazilian was disappointed not to have finished a few places higher up.

Speaking after the race though, he conceded that the Scuderia does have a lot of work to do to challenge Red Bull and McLaren, particularly in qualifying.

"We definitely have to improve the car, but it's equally true that our race pace is very different to our performance in qualifying," Massa stated.

"That's a positive, but we know that grid position is nevertheless very important, so we have to move forward on this front.

"As for my race, it was a shame to have lost valuable seconds at my first pit stop: but for that problem, I could have fought my way to a podium place. With the soft tyres my pace was very good."

Pat Fry, Ferrari's head of race track engineering, meanwhile also felt Massa could have been up there and in contention for a rostrum result.

"Felipe lost valuable position at his first pit stop because of a problem with the wheel nut on the left front wheel," Fry confirmed, "otherwise he could have been fighting for a podium."



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