• Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Massa expected more in qualifying

ESPN Staff
April 13, 2013 « Alonso encouraged by race pace | Ricciardo praises Toro Rosso progress »
Felipe Massa: "For sure I expected a little bit better, maybe the top three" © Sutton Images
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Felipe Massa expected to be more competitive in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix after taking fifth on the grid ahead of Sunday's race.

Massa was the fastest driver during free practice but struggled to remain on the front-running pace in qualifying, ending up 0.5s off Lewis Hamilton's pole position time. He said Ferrari slightly underestimated its rivals in practice, but thinks a good strategy will allow him to move forward in the race.

"For sure I expected a little bit better, maybe the top three," he said. "Looking at the lap time we did yesterday and the lap time we did this morning, I think the other cars improved more than we expected and maybe they were running a little bit heavier than we thought as well.

"But it's still good and I think the strategy tomorrow could be worth maybe two or three positions, so I think the race will be difficult and strategy will be very important."

The dominating factor for race strategy will be how long the soft tyres last in the opening stint but Massa said it was still not clear how far into the race he would be able to go.

"It's difficult to say because the balance and lap time will give us the direction of when we need to stop. After five laps or after 12, I don't know. We need to wait and see how the soft tyres behave at the beginning."

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