Felipe Massa gave himself a boost by being was fastest in FP2 in India today, although the Brazilian isn’t getting too excited just yet, given that the formbook suggests Red Bull and Ferrari will come good tomorrow.
Massa was just 0.088s ahead of nearest challenger Sebastian Vettel, and 0.224s in front of team mate Fernando Alonso.
He says he likes the track, and expects it to create plenty of overtaking.
“I think the car was good, I think the car was competitive,” he said. “We’ll see tomorrow how Red Bull and McLaren was running in terms of fuel and everything. But I think the car was good, and I did good laps as well. I think when the car is good and you do good laps, you can be on the top.
“It was very dirty. Offline it was very difficult, because there’s a lot of sand outside the line, but it’s a nice track.”
Massa says that the wide entries to the slower corners will encourage overtaking.
“It’s different, the ideas, in terms of the slow corners – Turn 3, Turn 4, and the last corner. It’s a very wide entry. This for sure creates different directions for the race, and even for qualifying – I mean for qualifying everybody tries to find the quickest line to cut the corner in the best direction, to gain speed in the total corner.
“In the race it’s different. If you are in the front , if you take the right line to the corner, the other car can pass you on braking. He just dives inside and can put the car on your side, because it’s so wide. So you need to turn a little bit before and brake more in the middle of the corner. The other car behind can go wide and take a very good exit. For sure it’s a big idea and a good idea for overtaking.
“It can make the race very challenging as well, for the drivers. And also the track is very nice. It has some uphills, some downhills, some very high speed corners, so I really enjoy it.”
Massa is adamant that Pirelli was too conservative with its choice of the hard tyre – on which Ferrari has of course always struggled.
“I think maybe the hard tyre is too hard for this track. It was really possible to drive with the same tyres as the last race here, because the asphalt is so smooth, and the degradation is much lower than expected.
“But we saw that in Korea, when we had the soft and supersoft tyres there, everybody was a bit scared. But then it was fine, it was the right choice. And here, looking at the asphalt, it’s not so different. For me it was the wrong direction to bring the hard.”