Felipe Massa has finally got some points on the board in 2012 after finishing ninth in today’s Bahrain Grand Prix. Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso finished the race in seventh.
“It was definitely not a very easy race, but in the end, we managed to do a good job and, for the first time this year, finish in the points,” said the Brazilian. “It's a nice result at this time, but we are well aware that it is not Ferrari's style to be happy with a ninth place. Having said that, it is a performance that gives me confidence for the rest of the season.
“Clearly we have to improve the performance of the car as soon as possible to be able to fight for worthwhile positions. In Barcelona, everyone will bring major updates and we will have had to do have done a better job than the others because we have to make up the ground lost at the start of this championship.
“As for the race, I think the decision to save a set of new Softs yesterday was the right one. A shame I lost a place to Rosberg in the pit stop: if I had managed to stay ahead of him, maybe I could have got a better result. I suffered especially with the rears and, in the end, I was not going flat out because I did not want to end up in trouble with tyre degradation.”
Alonso is still clearly frustrated not to be challenging for race wins at the moment, but admits that today’s result was not as bad as it could have been. “It went a bit better than we feared and we managed to limit the damage,” said the Spaniard, summarising the race. “We had arrived here eight points down on the championship leader and we leave only two more points adrift.
“To finish this run of four races in this situation is positive, even if there is no point in denying that we cannot be happy with it in general terms. Now, it's clear we have to make a step forward, because we cannot always count on the failings of others. For example, we closed the points gap to McLaren, something which I certainly would not have believed possible if it had been suggested yesterday. At the same time, we finished the race almost a minute behind the winner, which had never happened so far this year.
“I expected Lotus to be very competitive because they have been all weekend. So far it's been good that there hasn't been just one driver picking up the maximum points, as happened for example last year.
“As for the race, I can't say anything I didn't say already a week ago in Shanghai: the car is practically the same. At some points we were strong, in others much less so, all dependent on tyre behaviour. We lack top speed and when you are in a tight duel, that is penalising.
“As for the incident with Rosberg, I can only say that if, instead of such a wide run-off area there had been a wall, I'm not sure I'd be here now to talk about it.”
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali agrees that it has been damage limitation for the team in the opening four races of the season, and is expecting much better things when Formula 1 reaches Europe in three weeks time. “What has been a very tough first run of races for us has now come to an end..” he said. “We managed to limit the damage, at least as far as the Drivers' championship is concerned.
“Now we must look to the future and make a step up in terms of quality which should allow us to fight for the podium and not just a points finish. That's what I have been asking our engineers for several weeks and by Barcelona, I expect to already see the results of the effort we are expending in every area.”