Tyre issues prevent Massa to do better in China

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F1 Grand Prix, GP China, Shanghai International Ciruitcn

Ferrari enjoyed a strong race overall with a solid double points finish for the Italian team. Fernando Alonso won the race in dominant style, but Felipe Massa was unable to match that performance as he struggled with tyre problems.

Luca di Montezemolo, Chairman: “I was very confident going into this race and today I am very happy, especially for Domenicali and for everyone in the Scuderia who has worked so hard and so well at the track and in Maranello, as they really deserve this victory. Fernando Alonso drove a great race and Felipe Massa brought home points that are important in the Constructors’ classification. Winning in China is very satisfying for Ferrari and it is also a source of great pride in Italian technology. Now we go on, but with our feet firmly on the ground. A thank you to the fans: it was very nice to see so many Ferrari flags in the Shanghai grandstands and to feel so much enthusiasm here in Italy”.

Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: “I am pleased with the result for the team as a whole today and clearly with winning a race that looked like being a difficult one from many points of view, starting with tyre management. After what happened in Malaysia, I am particularly happy to see Fernando on the top step of the podium, because it’s the best possible turnaround and it’s down to a great job from the guys here at the track and in Maranello. However, I am sorry for Felipe who, because of graining, was unable to make the most of his potential, nor to secure the result he could have aimed for after his great start. This is only the third race and in a few days we will already be back on track to take on another challenge in Bahrain. In this first part of the championship it is harder than ever to come up with an accurate evaluation of the hierarchy in the field: between qualifying and the race we have seen contrasting performances for some teams and therefore we must concentrate very hard on improving the car over the single lap in qualifying, while maintaining the performance level we have seen over the long runs”.

Fernando Alonso, 1st: “It couldn’t have gone better than this today! I hadn’t won since Germany and this has a special feeling because it was a tricky race full of action. Along with the second place I got in Australia, this result shows that the car is competitive and that we are working in the right direction to always be in the fight for the podium. For that, I have to thank the team for the huge efforts it has made both here and back in the factory. They have worked so hard to put me in this position from which I can fight with the others on equal terms. We had a good feeling all through the weekend and qualifying third gave us the possibility of fighting for the top places. On top of that, maybe we were owed some good luck. Along with that all the important factors worked perfectly, such as set-up, strategy, calling the pit stops and the stops themselves. All together it produced a win that wasn’t easy at the end of a race in which we made the most of our pace and did a good job of managing the tyres, which was definitely the most dangerous aspect. With no one dominating the Championship, it makes it extremely interesting, even if we are aware this is only the third race. We are under no illusions and we must continue to concentrate and do all we can to improve still further”.

Felipe Massa: “It’s difficult to understand exactly what happened today, because the start went very well. I was immediately quick and the car was working perfectly. At the first stop, I fitted the Medium tyres and after a few laps I began to suffer with graining on the front. That meant I lost ground to other cars and it was probably down to a problem linked to the track conditions and my driving style. All weekend, I haven’t felt comfortable with these tyres and in the race, any attempts I made to save them was useless. But for this problem, I would certainly have been in the fight for the podium, but I am still confident because, all the same, I was able to bring home a good points haul which is important in a season that has only just begun”.

Pat Fry, Technical director: “The great start from both cars was certainly the best way to begin the race. We knew the Mercedes would have a slightly higher degradation than us and the double overtaking move on Hamilton at the start of Lap 5 meant we got into the lead immediately. We also knew that we would rejoin in traffic after the first pit stop, without knowing if we would have been able to overtake the cars that were on the Medium: the move paid off for Fernando with his stop on the sixth lap, while for Felipe, who pitted on lap 7, it was more difficult, especially as he had some graining which meant he was not able to finish any higher. Overall, the F138 showed that it has a good pace and we can take satisfaction from that. Now we must immediately turn the page and concentrate on the race coming up in Bahrain. We are absolutely aware that we still have a lot of work to do on qualifying performance if we want to make the most of our race pace”.


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