Nelson Piquet has stated he thinks Felipe Massa has an excellent chance of winning the driver’s championship this season. The three-time World Champion believes the Brazilian driver will take the honours ahead of his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, despite Raikkonen’s early lead over Massa.
Massa has made a couple of basic errors this season, but Piquet believes that Massa will have the edge in future races because of his incredible pace when qualifying. “Before the start of the season, I didn’t know who would be faster out of Felipe Massa or Kimi Raikkonen,” Piquet explained. “Now there is no doubt – despite having fewer points, Felipe Massa is the favourite for a very logical reason.
It is simply that Massa is always faster in qualifying than Raikkonen, and these days, Grand Prixs are won at the first corner. The tyres are the same, you don’t have times when the Michelins will be better any more; cars will not break down, and overtaking is almost impossible. So when does a driver secure a win and already have 90% of the job done? It’s at the start and at the first corner.
“Because Massa is more efficient in qualifying, I don’t see how Raikkonen can beat him. If Ferrari maintain the current technical advantage, obviously the battle will be between Massa and Raikkonen. The Grand Prixs and the championship will be won on Saturdays and Raikkonen at the moment has proven incapable of achieving Massa’s levels of speed. It looks to me like a rather simple situation.”