Formula 1 News

Massa compromised by traffic and old-spec car

The Brazilian insists that the pace gap to team mate Bottas is explained by unusual factors
Saturday, July 26, 2014

 

HUNGARORING, 26th July 2014 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Felipe Massa had another frustrating time of it in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix today.

 

He ended up with a P6 starting slot for tomorrow’s race, which was three places and almost a second shy of his team mate Valtteri Bottas. 

 

Both Massa and Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance Rob Smedley reckoned however that this outcome was not representative, due to traffic on the Brazilian’s final run combined with him this weekend having to run an old-spec floor. This latter factor is a result of several recent accidents meaning the team ran out of spare parts. 

 

They both reckoned too that Massa’s likely lap time without traffic alone would have been enough to get him ahead of Fernando Alonso into P5, based on his Q2 time set and the sort of Q2 to Q3 improvements that others made.

 

“For sure today I wasn’t having a good time in Q3” said Massa afterwards, “I had traffic, I couldn’t put the lap together, I was not going to do a lap similar to the lap he (Bottas) did but I was going to start the minimum I would say one position in front. 

 

“I did a 1m 24.0 in Q2, and then everybody improved between two and three tenths from Q2 to Q3 and I had traffic, so I overtook maybe four cars when I was on my lap, then I had another car opening the lap on the last corner, which I was a bit close, which cost me lap time.”

 

Massa also spoke of the impact of running an old-spec floor.

 

“Not having the same car as my team mate for sure is affecting my performance. We know also how much we improved the car through the beginning of the season and I’m using a floor that we were using in China and Barcelona. So going back is never positive.

 

“We were struggling with the balance of the car, more than I expected.”

 

Smedley explained that the precise time loss from running this floor was hard to gauge.

 

“If you look on paper it’s worth a few tenths but it depends how much it upsets the balance of the car. It’s not always an easy thing to quantify” said Smedley.

 

Smedley also thought that the traffic and the old car spec accounted for a lot of the time gap to Bottas. “He’s (Massa is) actually faster in Q2 than he was in Q3 so in Q3 the gap wasn’t particularly representative” said Smedley.

 

“he’s about four tenths off Valtteri here (on his potential Q3 lap time) which is exactly for the reasons that I’ve just explained (the old floor).”

 

Bottas meanwhile was pleasantly surprised by the Williams’ performance at the Hungaroring today.

 

“I think maybe (the qualifying result is) a little bit of a surprise. We knew that Red Bull are going to be really quick here and also Ferrari and obviously Mercedes like always.

 

"The nature of the track in theory is not the best for us, but we’ve been able to work well as a team to bring some updates, which really worked well. Obviously we're still missing some grip compared to some other cars but today was, I think, a really good day from us.”

 

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