Felipe Massa joins the F1 title hunt

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Istanbul, 2008, 2, 470150

Three races ago I was wondering if Massa had totally lost the plot over the winter. Now he’s bounced back with two victories and a second place and is only seven points behind Kimi Raikkonen in the championship.

Can mount a serious bid for the championship this year?

F1 World Drivers\' Championship Top 3, Istanbul 2008If so he needs to deliver at more than just the venues we are starting to recognise as “Massa tracks”. He needs to be up front at Montreal and Monza and above all he needs to on the pace when the rain falls – a big problem for him last year.

He now lies equal second in the championship with Lewis Hamilton on 28 points (see right), with the useful advantage of an extra victory keeping him ahead of the McLaren driver.

Ferrari have won the last four races in a row and if McLaren can’t beat them in the next two races, at tracks where the British team excelled last year, then Hamiton will be powerless to prevent the title from going to one of the two Ferrari pilots.

And of course Massa has to beat his team mate. He did that today but how much was he helped back Raikkonen’s problems? The Finn touched Heikki Kovalainen’s car at the first corner and blamed the wing damage from that (which he did not consider worth repairing) for slowing him down.

Massa has really turned his season around in the last few races but the hard part now will be not losing that precious momentum.

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29 comments on Felipe Massa joins the F1 title hunt

  1. Number 38 said on 11th May 2008, 17:22

    I’m probably Massa’s only “fan” but all this talk of replacing him with Alonso is just foolish. I’ll admit
    in (heavy) traffic he’s a bit timid but he’s USUALLY in the clear and in the clear he’s a flier. Ferrari (or the public) shouldn’t expect any more from Alonso so why all the talk of replacing him? Massa has scored the same points in three races as Hamilton has in four. Again I ask, why all the talk of replacing him? If I were Ferrari I’d be looking for a Kimi replacement, I suspect he’ll win this years championship and then hang up his helmet. Massa and Alonso? Just remember who’s #1 and who’s #2.

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 11th May 2008, 17:31

    Number 38, I’m totally baffled by that comment. You’ve obviously been following motor racing a long time and you’ve driven in Grand Prix support races. But you say “Massa has scored the same points in three races as Hamilton has in four” as if it doesn’t matter at all that Massa’s in the fastest car on the grid and Hamilton isn’t? The comparison just doesn’t hold.

    At any rate Luca di Montezemolo has now said he wouldn’t replace Massa with Alonso, and as he was apparently the person who wanted Alonso in to begin with it seems Massa is safe. I would still rather see Alonso and Raikkonen at Ferrari though (or better yet, Schumacher and Raikkonen) because I like to see the best drivers in the best teams.

  3. Sush said on 11th May 2008, 17:40

    number 38, normally i look forward to your comments.

    how you’ve come to that conclusion is beyond me, remember, Massa WAS number 1* last year, he’s now number 2.

    *because he whinged.

  4. Raikkonen’s line has a nice shape to it doesn’t it.

  5. Architrion said on 11th May 2008, 18:03

    I’m supposed to be in the group of those who dislike Massa. I don’t like his driving style (I couldn’t say it is smooth, nor fine, nor aggresive, nor nor nor…), I don’t like his attitude (Nurburgring comes to my mind…) and I believe he is absolutely flat when racing withing the pack. I’m sorry, dear Nº38, but I will feel hurted to have a world champion under the skin of such guy.

  6. William Wilgus said on 11th May 2008, 18:41

    Let’s see if I have this right:
    Massa can’t pass,
    Kimi breaks cars,
    Lewis can’t set up a car, and . . .

  7. Daniel said on 11th May 2008, 18:47

    Hey guys, I think you are overrating Massa’s manouver in Nurburgring… he wasn’t too aggressive… Hamilton, for example, was quite wild on his overtaking procedure today, but still he was clean, fair, and I didn’t complain when I saw it…

    As a brazilian, I must say that Massa, with all his problems (inconsistency, lack of attention) made Formula 1 enjoyable again for us: he is extremely fast, he responds very well when under pressure, and when he runs where he likes (the “Massa tracks” Keith mentioned: Bahrain, Turkey and Brazil) he shows a supremacy that I haven’t seen in any other driver since Schumacher…

    And the most precious thing is: Massa shows clearly how much he learns from his mistakes: after two terrible races without TC, he scored 28 of 30 possible points, winning twice and being second once… he won his first race not from pole in Bahrain, he hasn’t lost the lead on the first corner, when starting from pole, since Malaysia last year…

    Now he needs, just like Keith said, to be competitive everywhere…

    I don’t think he needs to prove how fast he is, but how solid and mature he can be… Hadn’t he spun in Malaysia, he would be leading (sorry for the verb tenses) the championship right now, with 36 points…

    Let’s wait and see!

  8. Sri said on 11th May 2008, 18:48

    Number38, you may be on to something. Kimi has spoken about how he did what he always wanted to accomplish. He’s just racing cos he likes it and has said as much that he’ll continue as long as he likes it. Though, in my opinion, it is inevitable that he’ll stop in next year or so. He’s too darned laid back to care, ’nuff said!

    However, i like Ferrari and appreciated skill of the ICEMAN. So i wish that he’d continue, but who knows.

    Massa would bounce back. I said that after Malaysia. When most had written him off. Well, he needed to. Also, he deserves better, ‘cos he’s a decent/sincere bloke. If i’m to be honest, he’s done much better than i could have anticipated. 28 points of a maximum 30 is bloody darned good. Dont’cha think?

  9. Daniel said on 11th May 2008, 18:52

    Ah, and I have to say: obviously Massa was helped by Kimi’s mediocre qualifying and poor start, but in the second stint, when both were running without anyone ahead, Massa was clocking 2 tenths of a second faster than Raikkonen, lap after lap, so I think Felipe would win anyway today…

  10. Sri said on 11th May 2008, 19:10

    Well, you got to hand it to Kimi though. Broken wing and second race on that engine and gearbox which was causing him trouble already. He still managed to finish on the podium. So, in my opinion, a very commendable job.

  11. Daniel said on 11th May 2008, 19:23

    For sure, after that poor start, he made a very good job, despite the broken wing, scoring the fastest lap and a podium finish.

  12. Architrion said on 11th May 2008, 19:44

    And he was carrying fuel for 5 laps or so, cause I can’t remember how long he delayed his 2nd pitstop. This extra fuel could cost him 2 tenths easily.

  13. frecon said on 11th May 2008, 19:57

    I agree with Number 38 about Kimi leaving F1. There is a lot of rumours about Raikonnen, and most of it says that he is not longer motivated to drive an F1. I don’t think that it will this year, but he has a contract until 2009, and then…

  14. frecon said on 11th May 2008, 20:00

    Architrion. De la Rosa said that in Istanbul Park, each 10 kg of fuel, makes you 0.4 sec slower. And each lap, cars burn 3 kg aprox. So each extra lap of fuel makes you 0.1 sec slower.

  15. Massa needs to sustain his good run. Both Monaco and Montreal are favoured toward Mclaren, so lets hope Ferrari can get some good results

  16. Sri said on 11th May 2008, 20:38

    Well, Ferrari have since last year shortened their wheelbase, which should help them on tighter circuits. It should theoretically be better. Plus, am a Ferrari fan, so it helps if they do well. Forza Ferrari!

  17. Number 38 said on 11th May 2008, 20:59

    AH! Well, that drew some comment …… but Keith’s response is equally ‘baffling': “Massa’s in the fastest car on the grid and Hamilton isn’t? The comparison just doesn’t hold.” Not true, Kimi’s the one with the ‘fastest car’ and three fastest laps and two poles to prove it. Isn’t it a bit petty considering Ferrari faster than McLaren when grid times are usually only 1/100ths apart?

    And a little review for ‘Sush’, Massa and Kimi would have been TIED at 84 points last year 14 races into the season when a Massa DNF put him out of the running. ‘Whinging’ had nothing to do with it. Having been relegated to #2 through no fault of his, Massa showed sportsmanship as we rarely see when he gave a sure win at his home race (Brazil) to Kimi to secure the Championship for the ‘champion’. And it wasn’t a mater of merely letting Kimi pass, Massa also HAD to finish second to denigh Alonso the 2nd place points. Would Kimi have done the same for him? Would Hamilton have done the same for Alonso? Not on your life !!!!!! I don’t know why Massa is so ‘dis-liked’, he’s just what we NEED in F1.

  18. Sush said on 11th May 2008, 21:14

    Number 38, put your toys back in the pram, you don’t like it when people don’t agree with you?.

    thanks for telling me all about last years brazil race, because I completely missed it, please tell me more… where did Lotus come?

  19. Melanie said on 11th May 2008, 21:17

    Massa is doing very well, I think we will see some more surprises from him during the year. Massa’s biggest test will come now that the first part of the season is over. Most of the tracks that Massa are really good at (Bahrain, Spain and Turkey) bar Brazil of course have been really early this year. Massa now has to make use of that advantage, if he stays close to Kimi then Ferrari will not just make him the second driver.

    Massa learns very well and seems to be growing as a driver all the time. We will have to wait and see what he does at places like Monaco, Sliverstone, Hockenheim, Spa ext. that will be the real test.

    Another thing that is interesting so far is that Massa has had really “good luck” so far. While everyone else has had some mechanical or technical or even pit stop problems, Massa has actually so far been trouble free in as far as thing beyond one’s control. So it’s a bit inevitable that Massa will also have some problems at some point during the season.

    But so far so good, Massa really has the momentum now if he keeps it up the championship might go down to the last race.

  20. Melanie said on 11th May 2008, 21:39

    Number 38: .” Not true, Kimi’s the one with the ‘fastest car’ and three fastest laps and two poles to prove it.”

    Hmm, in the first place Kimi has had one pole position and two fastest laps so far. Kimi and Massa drives the same cars, so how exactly does only Kimi have the fastest car? By your logic Massa actually had the fastest car so far because he has scored two pole positions (more then anyone else;-)

    And how do you know Kimi wouldn’t have done the same for Massa if he was in the same position? I’am sure Kimi would have done the same.

    If you really review the year so far, I’am sure you will be able to see that Massa doesn’t get treated like the second driver.

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