Time since 2008 title tilt ‘intense’ admits Massa

Aug.31 (GMM) Felipe Massa has acknowledged being beaten by Fernando Alonso this year but the Brazilian insists he is not afraid of his teammate.

In the Ferrari drivers’ qualifying battle so far in 2011 – off the back of Brazilian Massa’s difficult 2010 season – Massa has outpaced Spaniard Alonso just three times out of twelve.

“Well, it’s simple,” Massa said during an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais. “Fernando has been far better than me in that area.

“I am working to turn around the situation and, in any case, I have not exactly been slow,” he insisted.

Massa, 30, so nearly won the 2008 championship against Lewis Hamilton but since then he has struggled with Ferrari’s 2009 car, returned from a near-fatal crash and welcomed his first child into the world.

And since Brazil 2008, he has failed to add a single win to his tally of 11.

So what has changed? “Nothing. I am exactly the same,” insists Massa. “It is true that I have not got the results since then but I have the same ambition and determination.”

Asked if his fatherhood and his struggle for survival after Hungary 2009 affected him, Massa admitted: “Both things give you a lot of experience. But none of it affects me when I get into the car.

“Then, you do not remember anything. In the car I forget about my son, my wife, my father and mother. Michael (Schumacher) won many titles as a parent, so people talk about it too much.

“Although it is true that these two years have been the most intense of my life.”

In the 2011 standings, Massa is a massive 185 points behind Sebastian Vettel’s lead, meaning that even mathematically he can no longer win the title.

But it remains “important to focus on the present,” Massa said. “We hope to do better.

“Also we are not expecting many changes in the regulations (between 2011 and 2012) so it is crucial to finish the season with a competitive car.

“Next year the position of the exhaust changes but not the (other) aerodynamics, so the cars will be an evolution of these ones. So it’s worth it to stay focused.”

And Massa insists he is still a winning driver.

“Of course. If I didn’t think that I would go home.”

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