Felipe Massa faced the media this afternoon in the nicely cool Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro motorhome, given that outside the air temperature was up in the high thirties, here at the Hungaroring, a few miles outside the city of Budapest. For once, the first question was not about Felipe or his team, but what the fact that Mark Webber finally took his first F1 win a fortnight ago might do to his career.
“After my first win, it made me a lot stronger, a lot more mature and more wins came almost straight away. Something definitely changed for me and you feel a lot better, knowing you can win, especially if it is a deserved win, not a victory taken because someone in front of you has retired. Starting from pole and winning a race makes you believe you are big driver.”
Onto his views of this circuit, Massa described it as tricky. “It is very technical and one of the hardest things here is to keep the tyres working and in good shape. It is very easy to get graining on them, as we have very soft compounds here and the track temperature is very high. I am sure tyre performance will have a very big effect on the result of Sunday’s race. So it will be important to have our car set up in a way that helps to look after the tyres.”
Felipe took the Scuderia’s second podium of the season in Germany a fortnight ago and he was asked if this weekend could see him climb up a couple of steps to drink the winner’s champagne. “Our car was very competitive in Germany,” agreed Felipe. “I started with a very heavy car when others were quicker than me, but as the race went on, I was able to run at a pace faster than some of the cars ahead of me. For example, Vettel who has a very good car and when he was running lighter than me, could still not stay with me. So, I think maybe this can be a good weekend for us in terms of tyre useage. But it is too early in the weekend to predict what might happen.”
There’s a new driver here for the first time, as Jaime Alguersuari prepares to become the youngest ever driver to start in F1. The 19 year old Spaniard, who qualifies for a superlicense by winning last year’s British F3 series replaces Bourdais at Toro Rosso. Because of the testing ban, he will be driving an F1 car with other cars around him on track for the first time tomorrow. This was Massa’s opinion on the situation. “For me, he’s too young. When I arrived in F1, I was also young, just a year older than him. I did not know what to expect from the car and I made mistakes. It was not easy for me, but the difference is that even if it was not easy for me, at least I had spent the winter doing lots of testing, but he does not have this experience. I don’t think it is good for him.”