'It's like driving two different cars' – Massa
12 April 2013 – Felipe Massa has likened the performance gap between Pirelli’s Soft and Medium tyre compounds to driving completely different cars, but feels optimistic that Ferrari is in a strong position when it comes to managing degradation at Shanghai.
The Brazilian, who set the pace in Friday's second free practice session, says he instantly felt comfortable in the F138 and is confident of developing his initially promising pace into a strong result come tomorrow afternoon's qualifying hour.
"Today, I immediately had a good feeling in the car and even if, at the start, I was not completely happy with the performance of the Medium compound and we were not as quick as our rivals, the times were good all the same," Massa explained.
"When I fitted the Softs, the car improved a lot and this meant I was able to set the fastest time of the day. It was impressive, like driving two completely different cars. Our race pace looks competitive, the car is handling well on both types of tyre and degradation was not excessive, even if the higher wear rate of the Soft compared to the Medium compound will be an important factor when it comes to choosing the right strategy.
"I feel confident and hope that the whole weekend can keep moving in this direction."
Massa sits four points ahead of team-mate Fernando Alonso in the Drivers' standings as this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix gets underway, holding fifth place overall.