Felipe Massa has laid the blame for losing the French Grand Prix squarely at the feet of traffic he encountered at Magny-Cours, claiming that backmarkers cost him valuable time in the battle with Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

The Brazilian led the race up until the second round of pit-stops but, while Raikkonen was able to bang in a couple of rapid laps between Massa's stop and his own, the erstwhile leader found himself hampered by slower cars reluctant to move out of his way. Pointing out that the difference between the two Ferraris had been in line with predictions the team had had suggested based on their respective fuel loads, Massa was clearly disappointed to see his rival sweep ahead at the end of the second stint.

"For sure, I lost the race today because of the traffic," the polewinner sighed, "In the first stint, I was supposed to be more than four seconds in front of Kimi, and it worked perfectly when the track was free, because I was 4.8secs ahead or something. He had three laps more than me in the second stint, which was supposed to be the same [result], as [I was] supposed to be more than four seconds in front, but I lost too much time.

"I was so disappointed with the traffic in the second stint. Even when you are not very close to the car in front, you lose so much downforce that you cannot follow and you just lose speed. That was the biggest problem I had today [and, unfortunately, I lost the victory because of that. The car was great during the three runs and, whenever I was alone, I was doing very very quick laps."

Refusing to single out any specific driver for deliberately holding him up, Massa insisted that the problem had been widespread enough to cost him a lot of time.

"There were many cars - the two Red Bulls, one Toyota, which was more difficult, and also a Williams as well," he recalled, "There were maybe three or four cars in front of me and they were fighting - but I was the leader. You make the strategy not counting the traffic, so the traffic can change everything. As long as I passed the traffic, I was opening a normal gap to Kimi but, in the second stint, but it didn't work like that. I think that, if you stay more than three laps behind a car, it's not normal. Okay, I was not completely on the rear wing of the car, but enough for them to see me in the mirrors.

"With the cars we have now, sometimes when you start to get close, you start to lose downforce, so you cannot get close enough to pass the car. But we are leading and they are being lapped, so they need to let us by."

Despite being disappointed at missing out on a third win of the season, Massa claimed that he was happy enough to be part of a 1-2 result for a resurgent Ferrari, and insisted that he saw the result as positive for the championship.

"For sure, these are two points gained on [Lewis] Hamilton [not two points lost to Kimi Raikkonen]," he stressed, "It was a positive race as we also gained compared to Fernando [Alonso] which now means the difference is reduced a lot. I think it was a good result."

 

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