The headlines are pretty much the story from Valencia where Felipe Massa drove a spectacular race leading from start to finish to drive home the European Grand Prix 2008.
Lewis Hamilton was second, and now leads Felipe Massa by 6 points in the driver’s championship. Meanwhile Massa was ecstatic after his win :
“That was a fantastic weekend and like I said at the time, it was also a perfect weekend, with pole, the win and fastest lap and honestly, I didn’t have a single problem all weekend. Everything worked very well right from the start of first practice on Friday. This was partly down to the work we did before the even with our simulation programme. But these things are never one hundred percent accurate and there are several elements that you cannot learn much about until you actually get to the track, such as the condition of the track surface and how much and how quickly the asphalt will improve. But in terms of simply learning the track, the simulation does help and it is an important tool. It meant we had a good idea of what to expect when we began driving.
“As for the circuit itself, it actually looked much better on paper than in real life! On paper it seemed really interesting, but the race itself did not provide as much overtaking as we had maybe expected. However, leaving aside racing, the actual driving on this track was fun and it is better than many other tracks, that’s for sure. Before we went there, there was a lot of talk about the high potential for accidents and the possible intervention of the Safety Car, but it didn’t happen. I think the track was better than expected in this respect. Personally I was glad there were no neutralisation periods in the race, as my strategy had not been based on the possible arrival of the Safety Car. This time I chose a fairly aggressive race strategy as I had a very competitive car. When you choose a very aggressive strategy and you’re not sure if you’re going to start from pole position, it is always a potentially difficult situation as your strategy could work against you if you do not meet your qualifying target. When you know you have a quick car, you really have to do all you can to get pole as it is the best possible way to go into the race.
“After Kimi’s engine failed, it was disappointing of course, but I was not too concerned for my own engine. Kimi’s failure involved a part in the engine that had failed on my engine in Budapest and while the team felt it was the better risk to leave Kimi’s engine after the Hungarian GP, rather than give him a big grid penalty on a tight track, mine of course had to be changed. Now the batch of “cursed” con-rods is no longer being used and we have instigated very close controls on the parts we are using. I hope the problem has gone away for both of us.
“My win in Valencia moves me ahead of Kimi into second place in the championship. I’ve been asked by some media if I feel Ferrari should favour me for the title now there are just six races remaining: all I can say to this is that I want to keep winning, to keep beating not just my team-mate but the others too. Decisions like this are nothing to do with me. I just do the best job possible for the team and leave the rest to the team management.
“On Sunday night, I stayed in Valencia and celebrated my win with my family and some friends and got home to Monaco on the Monday. But already on Tuesday afternoon, I drove off to the Monza circuit where I am today in the cockpit of my F2008 for two days of testing, before the Belgian Grand Prix. Life is going to be very busy and exciting over the next few weeks.”