Massa: "very close between me and Kimi"
Felipe Massa is well known in Turkey now and his local fans would have been pleased to hear his opening remarks at this afternoon's press conference, at the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro media unit: "I love this track and why wouldn't I as I have won here for the past two years!" began the Brazilian. "It is great fun to drive especially the quick sections. Having won here before it gives me a lot of confidence. I can't explain why I have done well here particularly. Yes, I like it, but I also like other circuits and I am quick at other circuits."
|Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa|
The more technically minded journalists were keen to find out about one change on the F2008 cars for this race. "Why no hole in the nose? Because it would bring no advantage in performance terms here," explained Massa. "We always said we would run at those tracks, such as Barcelona, where we felt it brought us this edge, but here, the nature of the track is different and we decided the more conventional nose was the one to use."
As for the rivalry between him and his team-mate, Felipe as usual, was very relaxed. "Well, Kimi won in Malaysia, then I won in Bahrain and he won in Spain, so let's hope it continues like this right to the end of the championship. That would be fantastic! We are both competitive, we both have a chance to win this weekend. I am feeling strong right now and I was strong in Barcelona, but I hindered my chances of winning in Saturday's qualifying. We have seen how important qualifying is this year, so I hope to have a good qualifying and then I should be able to aim for the win this Sunday. As for the title, if Ferrari keeps winning, it could be very close between me and Kimi. But lots of things can happen: a driver can have some bad luck or there can be some technical difficulties and it could be there are unusual circumstances that mean one of us finishes outside the points. But it's still a long championship so who knows? The last three races have gone very well for Ferrari, but we know things can change very quickly in this sport. So we have to push as hard as we can every day until the very end of the championship. All the same, the car is going very well at the moment and we have every chance of winning here if we concentrate hard all weekend. Last year, the Istanbul circuit had the characteristics that suited our car, while we were a bit weak in Monaco, Canada and Indy. This year we don't know, but if we are strong here and in Monaco and Canada, that will be very important for us for the rest of the championship."
The technical nature of this circuit would seem to mean that this year, without electronic driver aids, it might be an even greater challenge, but Massa is not convinced: "you know, traction control is not so important in the quick corners. You use it more in the slow ones, so I don't think it will be a problem here. Although of course, if you lose control of the car, you had more chance of correcting it if you had traction control. In the past you would use traction control in the last three corners a lot, but no more than some of the other circuits and we have not had any problems there."