Felipe Massa once again failed to progress to the final qualifying shoot-out during qualifying for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, but this time it was driver error that hurt the Brazilian.
Massa historically gets off to a slow start each season and 2009 is proving no exception. Mistakes from Ferrari, allied to poor reliability have left him without a single point and dashed his chances of fighting for the championship again.
The Brazilian endured another difficult qualifying session in Shanghai his weekend after a mistake on his final flying lap in Q2 cost him a place in the run-off, and dropped him to thirteenth place.
“The first run in Q2 was pretty good, but on the second, I made a mistake going into Turn 9 which kept me out of Q3,” he said. “I had a bit of traffic on my out lap which meant I didn’t get the tyres up to the right temperature.”
“We must try and get through these two difficult races, bringing home a few points, working in the meantime on the development of the car.”
Ferrari have been hit hard by the FIA’s decision to declare split-diffusers legal. They are also running without their KERS device this weekend due to reliability issues, and this has hampered both their drivers.
“Not having the KERS is definitely a handicap in my case, especially in qualifying. This is another area where we must work, to go back to using it as soon as possible.”
Kimi Raikkonen faired slightly better in qualifying wrestling his Ferrari into eighth place, but the Finn admitted that he was still frustrated with the handling of his car.
“Of course I’m not happy with eighth place but, given our current potential, we have to settle for this,” he said.
“We got everything out of the car but we had no more new tyres for Q3 and therefore, it’s already something to have put quite a few of our competitors behind us.”
“The problem is still the same, we are just not quick enough. The car’s handling isn’t bad, but as I’ve said before, we are giving away a second to the best.”
“I hope we get some developments quickly but, in the meantime, we try to do the best with what we’ve got. I hope we have a good race and pick up a few points.
“I don’t know where we might have been if we had the KERS: at some points it gives you an advantage, but in others it can be a disadvantage. It would have been useful to run it on at least one car to understand the situation better.”
Newly appointed team manager Chris Dyer concedes is hoping for a better race: “After the disappointment of Malaysia, this qualifying had some light and shade.”
“Kimi secured a good position, managing to make it through to the top ten, while unfortunately, Felipe was out of the final part of the session because of a mistake that prevented him from improving on his second run in Q2, just missing out by less than a tenth.
“In Q3, on worn tyres, Kimi did a great job, managing to put two cars behind him. We have a good strategy and hope to pick up a few points in tomorrow’s race.”