Massa’s struggles continue

By on Saturday, March 24, 2012

Felipe Massa

FIA - Felipe Massa’s early-season woes continued today as the Brazilian was unable to scrape into Q3 in a Ferrari F2012 car he says he is only beginning to understand.

Struggling for balance, Massa finished the one-hour shoot-out as the 12th-quickest man and will line up on the grid behind the Williams of Pastor Maldonado and the 10th-placed Sauber of Sergio Pérez. "Clearly, I can't be happy with 12th place,” Massa said afterwards, “but we know that, at the moment, we do not have a very competitive car. Getting through to Q3 is very difficult and today I could only get close to this target.

“Yesterday and today in FP3, I was not satisfied with the balance of the car, but we managed to improve it for qualifying, which leaves me feeling confident for the race and for the future. I think we have begun to get a better understanding of how this F2012 works and that is positive.

“Tomorrow will be a very hard race, where tyre degradation will make itself felt and there will also be the threat of rain hanging over it. I hope I can get a better result than this twelfth place.”

It was a more positive outcome for team-mate Fernando Alonso, who qualified ninth but who will start eighth thanks to the five-place grid penalty incurred by Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen after the Finn was forced to change his car’s gearbox. "It was a good qualifying, because I think we got everything we could out of the car,” said Alonso. “I had a KERS problem on my only run in Q3, but I don't think it cost me any places, but it would definitely have made the gap to pole look more realistic.

“We must try and bring home points that could be significant for the championship. The start and the first corner will be complicated, because so much is at stake then. Here, the performance is slightly better than in Australia, which proves we are working in the right direction, but obviously we must move on in leaps and bounds if we want to fight for the front rows.”

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