• Indian Grand Prix

Fuel saving prevents Massa fighting McLaren

ESPN Staff
October 28, 2012 « Button rues McLaren's soft tyre pace | Car was fast enough for a podium - Raikkonen »
Felipe Massa held off Kimi Raikkonen for the duration of the race to finish sixth © Sutton Images

Felipe Massa believes he could have finished ahead of both McLarens if he hadn't needed to save fuel in the Indian Grand Prix.

Having started sixth behind his team-mate Fernando Alonso, Massa finished in the same position while Alonso beat both McLarens and Mark Webber to finish second. Team principal Stefano Domenicali revealed Massa was forced to save fuel from an early stage having missed out on a long run in Friday practice, and Massa himself said there were other issues that added to his disadvantage.

"The maximum? For sure not," Massa said. "Looking at the problems I had in the race with the fuel and everything I think in the end it was not so bad to be honest. If you see the problem I had with saving the fuel; you always lose performance with that. It's true that I didn't have all the new parts on the car compared to Fernando, I think a little bit of performance is there as well. It's also true that after 18 laps we lost a little bit of downforce on the rear of my car, but maybe it was a piece or whatever in the rear, for sure this didn't help as well.

"So in the end I think I had a little bit of small problems that couldn't give me the right opportunities to finish more in front. I think maybe if you had everything right it was more possible to be fighting with the McLarens and even to finish in front of them."

Massa admitted his race-long defence against Kimi Raikkonen was helped by a lack of top speed in the Lotus.

"It was a very difficult race, it was very tricky to keep [Raikkonen] behind; I was saving fuel for more than half the race. That was not very nice to drive the car saving fuel and having a guy very close to you, but we were able to keep him behind. I think his speed was not very good on the straight which helps to keep in front … we bought home points and I think that's important."