• Australian Grand Prix

Tyre degradation costs Massa

ESPNF1 Staff
March 27, 2011 « Sauber pair disqualified for technical infringement | »
Felipe Massa held off Jenson Button for a number of laps before fading later in the race © Sutton Images

Ferrari's Felipe Massa said tyre degradation cost him after he finished seventh in the Australian Grand Prix.

Massa found himself up in fifth place exiting the first corner having started eight, and spent most of the first part of the race fighting to keep Jenson Button behind him. His impressive driving led Button to call him "the hardest guy to get past", but after his first pit stop he slipped back and he had to stop three times before eventually finishing ninth, although this was later upgraded to seventh when both Sauber's were excluded.

"At the start things got off on the right foot with a nice start and good defending from Button's attacking moves," Massa said. "Then we tried to bring forward the use of the hard tyres, but that move did not pay off and we had to make the third stop towards the end. In the second part, I suffered a lot with degradation on the rear tyres and I could not keep up a good pace."

Having overtaken Sebastian Buemi using the moveable rear wing, but been passed by team-mate Fernando Alonso and Button - who received a drive through for cutting a chicane while passing him - Massa said the Drag Reduction System had delivered the desired results.

"New elements such as the rear wing worked as they should: we definitely saw more overtaking than last year. The duel with Button? It was very tight: when he passed me, cutting the chicane, I expected him to be penalised. I am a bit disappointed with the result and the overall performance this weekend. We have to get down to work to understand fully what happened, because I think we have not shown our true potential."