• Chinese Grand Prix

Massa blames poor performance on tyre graining

ESPN Staff
April 14, 2013 « Race pace still lacking - Hamilton | No action taken for DRS infringements »
Felipe Massa suffered with front tyre graining on the medium compound © Getty Images
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Felipe Massa blamed excessive graining on his front tyres for his disappointing performance compared to Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso in China.

Massa finished sixth and over 40 seconds off race winner Alonso, despite being directly behind his team-mate in the first corner. He initially lost positions by staying out for too long on the soft tyres at the start of the race, but he said front graining on the medium tyres in the following stints ruined his chances of making the most of the Ferrari's pace.

"It was the graining on the tyres," he said. "I had amazing graining on the front tyres and after that I was just getting slower and slower because the graining was increasing at the front. For sure, the biggest problem I had was the graining and in the second stint I started to have a lot of graining and I was a bit scared it was too much. I even anticipated it would stop after maybe one or two laps but I anticipated too much.

"In the next stint I had graining again but then it cleaned and I was very quick at the end of the stint. Even in the last stint I did more than 20 laps and in the last stint of the race I was doing 1:40s, which was very quick. What I was doing before with the graining caused me to lose many positions and the gaps to the guys in front opened up."

"Apart from the first stop, where I lost two positions, I was very, very strong on the softs, and stopping one lap after Fernando for sure was a big problem for where I was at that moment. It would have been perfect for me to stop on the lap before together with Hamilton, although I still would have struggled with the tyres so I don't think that was the biggest problem of my race when you look at the problem I had with my tyres."

Massa said he misread how the track conditions would evolve after Friday practice and that his set-up left him with the graining issue in the race.

"I think the track evolution gave me more grip in the rear and then you start to use more front tyre in the race," he explained. "I think that was really the difference compared to Friday. On a green track I had a bit less graining and today it was massive. So I think that was one change.

"But I was still happy with the car and I think without this problem I was going to be fighting at the front and even if it was a bad race, sixth position is still important points. I think I'm happy with the good direction with the car and we will concentrate on the next race. You're never going to have the best race all the time, sometimes things happen. This front graining destroyed all the possibilities I had."