Massa expected top three grid position
13 April 2013 – Felipe Massa has admitted that he was hoping to secure a top three starting position for the Chinese Grand Prix, with the Brazilian having to settle for fifth on the grid after a busy end to qualifying at the Shanghai International Circuit on Saturday afternoon.
Having topped the timesheets in second practice and featured near the front in this morning’s final session, the Ferrari driver believes his closest rivals were running slightly more fuel to conceal outright pace ahead of the grid-deciding hour.
"It was a good qualifying, with the car working well and being quick," said Massa after the session. "To be honest, after my performance in the second and third free practice sessions, I expected to start in the top three, but it’s very likely that our competitors were running with more fuel and it’s also true that strategy counts a lot more than one or two places on the grid."
Massa, like many of his fellow drivers, placed emphasis on Pirelli’s tyres for the race, admitting that "anything can happen" due to the extreme levels of degradation.
"Today’s qualifying featured different choices: we preferred to use the Soft tyre from the first run in Q1, because it looked complicated getting through to the next part with the Medium. That has allowed us to save them for tomorrow in a race that looks like being very closely contested and where as many as three stops might be necessary.
"Our main competitors probably did better than us, but the race is long and anything can happen. Tyre management and tactical choices will definitely be the key factors."