The Singapore night race weekend got underway today and in keeping with the unusual timetable, Felipe Massa had his usual meeting with the media much later than at a "normal" race. The Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver is clearly very motivated to do well in Singapore and has rapidly settled into the new routine.
"I arrived here on Tuesday morning so I had a little bit of time to do some sightseeing and it seems like a very interesting place," began Massa. "Expectations for this race are very high from everyone involved, from the drivers to the spectators planning to come and see this first ever F1 night race. I think it is an interesting moment in the history of Formula 1. I am really looking forward to discovering the track and to learn it, as from our simulation work, I would say it will be both interesting and difficult. The track looks like a mix of some other tracks, like Valencia, Melbourne and Monaco. It seems much slower than Valencia, but quicker than Monaco, with some sections resembling Melbourne and maybe even Montreal. It looks as though there are some very tricky corners and it will be important to learn the best lines as quickly as possible on Friday. So generally I'm very excited about the weekend.
"As for my body clock, like everyone I am keeping pretty much to European time. For example, on Wednesday, I was walking around the track at three o'clock in the morning! That's very unusual and funny actually. I'm aiming to go to sleep every day at five in the morning, waking up around one in the afternoon. It's strange to be operating in a completely different time plan to all the local people.
Night or day, the usual factors will decide the outcome of the race, starting with the performance level of the car and its total package. "Our last test in Mugello went very well, but of course that is not the same as actually driving here," said Felipe. "But we were not just concentrating on Singapore as we were also working towards the next two races in Japan and China and in these cases, Mugello is more representative of the circuits we will race on at these two venues."
As for the championship, it is looking more and more like a fight between the Ferrari man and Lewis Hamilton. "There is a great battle with both of us having some ups and downs during the year, so I hope we can have good results in the remaining four races. It will come down to which team can do the best job working reliably and consistently." And what help can Felipe expect from his team-mate. "I don't expect anything," was his first reaction. "I will just try and do my job as well as possible and the best result would of course be for me to win all four remaining races! But as always, for me and Kimi, our first responsibility is always to try and win for the team."