Felipe Massa continued to underline Ferrari's return to front-running form by securing his fourth pole position of the season at the French Grand Prix, fending off McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen in a three-way scrap for superiority.

With Fernando Alonso removed from the equation by gearbox problems, Massa took the fight to the remaining McLaren, setting a faster time on his first flying run in Q3 that proved to be good enough to hold on top spot even when both Hamilton and Raikkonen improved second time around. After sharing Friday honours with his Finnish team-mate, Massa was convinced that Ferrari was back on firm after a three-race lull that has allowed McLaren to steal a march in both championships.

"For sure, it's definitely a good weekend for us," the Brazilian said, "We came here, and found a similar car to last week [in testing], so I think that's really encouraging and it looks like we're back fighting again. For sure, it's very close all the time - if you look at the difference on the lap times, it was very close between us three, but it's good to be back fighting, it's good to be here and I'm really happy that we can have a good car tomorrow as well."

Asked whether he could maintain his position in Sunday's race, on the basis that he has tended to finish where he started this season, Massa was optimistic that the F2007 would be a good race car as well.

"Hopefully, it stays like in the beginning of the year - where the guy who starts in the front finishes in the front," he admitted, "That would be great. We've heard that maybe the rain will join us, but hopefully we can have a great car for whatever conditions.

"We have more grip, more consistency and the car is just behaving better due to the modifications we are doing, so it just looks like we have a little bit more downforce. There was more grip, [it was] more consistent with the scrubbed tyres, and we could manage to find the grip on the first lap, which was our biggest problem in the last few races. In some sessions, I was pretty happy with the balance, but I just couldn't put the lap together, so I was sure that I had the possibility to be on pole."



Loading Comments...