Felipe Massa conceded defeat at Hockenheim today and admits that Lewis Hamilton was out reach, despite gaining an advantage over the Briton as a result of the safety car.
The Ferrari driver headed up the scarlet challenge in the German Grand Prix as Kimi Raikkonen’s handling problems continued to hamper him in the race. But Massa and Ferrari had no answer for Lewis Hamilton’s searing pace which saw the Briton canter off into the distance in the early part of the race.
McLaren’s decision not to pit the 23-year-old during the deployment of the safety car afforded Massa a significant advantage and a whiff of victory, but the Brazilian was quickly hunted down and was unable to fend off the charging silver car.
“It was a difficult race,” said Massa. “Right from the beginning, Hamilton’s pace seemed unbeatable and I understood that it would be very hard to beat him.”
“I never had good grip and, in the final stages, I also had brake problems and was not even able to attack Piquet, whom I congratulate on the first podium of his career. We must try and understand why, this weekend, we have not been a match for our rivals.”
“They have definitely improved, but I think this was more a case of us having taken a step backwards. However, we are still confident: we have the ability to get out of this situation, right from the next race.”
Ferrari were outclassed by their Woking rivals at Hockenheim and the result will be a serious cause of concern for the Italian squad as their enter the crucial second half of the season.
“This was not a good day and there’s no point denying it,” said Team Principal Stefano Domenicali. “Our rivals were stronger than us and we have to work out why, without however getting caught up in nebulous and superficial analysis. For the first time this season in a race, we did not have the pace we had expected to run at, with both Kimi and Felipe.”
“We suffered constantly from a lack of grip and, in the final stages, Felipe’s brakes were also overheating which complicated still further the management of his car.”
“The Safety Car offered us the opportunity to give it another go and all things considered, I think we made the right choice in terms of strategy, but when your pace is inadequate, it is therefore difficult to get a good result. We have to work well over the coming days to react in the right manner to return to the level we were at just two races ago.”