• Korean Grand Prix - Qualifying

Massa keen to take fight to frontrunners

ESPN Staff
October 13, 2012 « Grosjean puzzled by tyre issues | Frustrated Button wants rule clarity »
Felipe Massa: "Maybe with a perfect lap I would have been one or two positions higher" © Sutton Images
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Felipe Massa thinks Ferrari is closer to Red Bull at this weekend's Korean Grand Prix and is hoping he will be able to have a "straight fight" with the cars ahead of him in Sunday's race.

He qualified sixth on the grid, 0.6s off Mark Webber on pole, but reckons Ferrari's race pace will mean the car is more competitive on Sunday.

"I think the gap is smaller but they [Red Bull] are still at the front and have a very quick car which is quicker than our car in the qualifying," he said. "McLaren was also a bit quicker than us but I hope we can see a similar direction to the last race with our car getting a little bit quicker in the race and the possibilities get bigger to fight with these guys. Hopefully it could even be a straight fight. The qualifying was okay and I didn't do a perfect lap. Maybe with a perfect lap I would have been one or two positions higher, but I don't think it would have been much better than that."

It's only the sixth time he has been in the top ten this year and Massa his lack of one-lap pace had held him back this year.

"I had many races where I had a great pace but by starting further back I had more chance of contact with somebody. I think when you start in a better position it helps and I hope that it helps for tomorrow as well. I feel much better and more confident with the car and I'm driving it more automatically. In the race I've always had a good pace and I think that is really positive. I'm pushing hard to improve even more to get to the front."

Massa is starting one place ahead of Romain Grosjean who has come under intense media pressure after causing another first-lap accident in Japan. However, Massa is not concerned about what might happen at the start.

"He needs to worry, not me," he said. "He's been in a few problems at the start and he has suffered already a lot with that. He needs to be careful and understand how to do the starts. I hope he understands that and I will try to do the best with whatever driver I am beside. I hope he understood with all the problems, but he is a clever guy and a good driver and it's not a difficult thing to learn and understand."