• Japanese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Hamilton will not affect Massa

ESPNF1 Staff
October 8, 2011 « Alonso targeting podium at Suzuka | Webber 'surprised' and 'disappointed' »
Felipe Massa outqualified his team-mate Fernando Alonso © Getty Images

Felipe Massa says he will not be affected by starting alongside Lewis Hamilton in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Massa shares row two with Hamilton, who made a mistake trying to find a gap on his outlap and failed to start a second run in the final qualifying session. After the pair collided in Singapore and his subsequent outburst at Hamilton, Massa said that he doesn't care who he is starting alongside but that the start itself would be important.

"It was a difficult qualifying session but at least we managed to keep one of the four best cars behind us," Massa said. "It's never easy here to put together the perfect lap and my last run was very good, even if I lost a little bit in the final sector. Tomorrow, it will be important to get a good start. Hamilton alongside me on the grid? It makes no difference to me if it's him or anyone else."

Massa said his aim for the race would be to look after the tyres and try to score his first podium finish of the season.

"The race looks like being a complicated one, with a lot of stops to change tyres that show significant degradation here, so it follows that strategy will play a key role. It will be vital to find the right pace, so as to be quick, but at the same time, save the tyres. Overtaking will not be easy, despite KERS and DRS: maybe tyre wear will count for more, given that you come onto the main straight off a very slow chicane. Our aim is the podium: we're starting one place off it, so it's a realistic expectation."