Felipe Massa delighted his home crowd in Brazil by taking a solid third place – despite his race being far from trouble-free.
Massa picked up a five-second stop-and-go penalty for speeding in the pits, and later attempted to have his car serviced by the McLaren mechanics before he realized he was stopping in the wrong place and was waved through.
“I think the race was amazing,” said Massa. “Everything that happened in my race today. So, I think the most important thing was that the pace was there, the car was quick. I’ve been so happy with the car during the whole all weekend.
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“I’m so happy with the race, not happy with my mistakes today. I just got a problem when I braked for the pitstop, I pressed the pit-limiter but for whatever reason the pit-limiter was not [engaged], and then just past the speed [limit sign] I braked, I press again. It was a problem I had today.
“And then I managed to catch the guys trying to put the gap again. The car was fantastic. I managed to overtake many cars, catch Button as well, he was in front. I was opening the gap compared to Jenson for about five, six seconds, maybe even more.
“Then I stopped in the wrong garage. I stopped in the McLaren because they changed our garage this race and we are a lot more in the middle, and McLaren with the similar color I thought it was our garage. They were ready. Then I just stopped there and lost a lot of time because of that.”
Massa admitted he thought he might lose a shot at third place when he got the speeding penalty: “I thought I could lose the podium because of the first mistake with the five second penalty, speeding in the pit lane. I think I could have lost the podium there. So disappointed that that thing happened, and then I was pushing even harder.
“The problem is that you cannot push so hard because otherwise you use the tires too much. I managed to take care of the tires and I managed to put a good pace straight away, but I was worried by the first mistake. Not the second, because Jenson was behind me and it was not enough to lose the position, but the first one, yes.”
Massa anticipates another good performance in Abu Dhabi: “I’ve been confident that we will have the car to fight for the podium in most of the races, as we saw in the last race where we were fighting for the podium. Unfortunately I lost the podium in the last race but we’ve had many podiums in the last races as a team and I really believe we can fight and we can have the possibility to be on the podium again in the next race. The car is good, competitive and I don’t think anybody will have different pieces so whatever things that will make the car quicker than this track, so I really hope we can be very strong on that track as well.”