Felipe Massa couldn’t have driven a better race and as far as luck is concerned, couldn’t have been dealt a worse hand. On course to take a commanding win at the Hungaroring, Massa’s Ferrari suffered an engine failure, just three laps from the finish, which led to his retirement in Budapest. Despite ending the race without any points to show for his master-class performance, Ferrari are firm believers that the Brazilian will bounce back to counter his disappointment at the European Grand Prix. felipe massa

“I have to say that we are very sad for Felipe because in my view he drove the best race of his career,” said Ferrari team principal, Stefano Domenicali, to Ferrari’s official website. “It was fantastic the way that he attacked when he had to attack. He managed the race right up to the final laps, so we are very disappointed.”

After qualifying in third place for the race, Massa drove brilliantly from the word ‘go’ and the special strategy planned out by the Ferrari team for the race start was executed to perfection. Massa was past Heikki Kovalainenand Lewis Hamilton before Turn One.

“We tried to simulate the start in terms of lines because we knew that if we were in front we could set a good pace for the first stint of the race,”explained Domenicali. “We were building and informing Felipe of the gap behind him to Hamilton just to create our race, expecting him to pit in the region of our pit stop.”

Once ahead, it was Massa all the way. He built up a huge lead to ensure that after his first pit stop, he stayed in front. Hamilton suffered a puncture and that meant that barring a miracle, Massa would surely win a race where he seemed to run the show. And a miracle it was! The Ferrari V8 decided to shut down suddenly, without giving the team, or the driver, any time to react.

“Unfortunately we had no warning, we just had the smoke in front of us, and it was very bad,” explained Domenicali. “Unfortunately there was no signal, no information, no warning on the telemetry.”

Kimi Raikonnen, in the other Ferrari, was also suffering from mechanical issues and had been asked to cut down on pace and Raikkonen obliged them to take third place and ensure that at least one of the Scarlet race cars ended up on the podium.

“No. They were completely different,” said Domenicali. “We saw there was something on the mechanical side on the rear (of Raikkonen’s car) that was not properly working.”

McLaren have reduced Ferrari’s lead at the top of the table to just 11 points, from 19. Felipe Massa’s drivers’ title challenge has also taken a hit as the Brazilian is now in third place with 54 points. Hamilton leads the table at 62 points with Raikkonen at 57. Domenicali is confident that this setback, though big, will not affect the mentally-able Massa.

“I think that he’s very strong,” he added. “If you are mentally able to manage this kind of race, after such a big disappointment, you have to take a step forward, because you get stronger. This is what we are all going to do together, because that’s the way we are going to approach the next race in Valencia.”

Anjali nambissan
Sports Pundit member

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