Felipe Massa found himself at the wrong end of the timesheets against his team-mate Lance Stroll for the first time this season, finding himself outqualified by the Canadian rookie by half a tenth and forced to settle for ninth position. Despite his own troubles, he was complimentary towards the sister Williams’ pace, the first time all year the duo have been evenly matched on a Saturday.
As with many drivers, the Brazilian’s main complaint was the difficulty in switching on the supersoft Pirelli tyres, a recurring issue for him throughout the weekend up to this point. His tyre worries were compounded further by Daniel Riccairdo‘s accident forcing him to abandon his first run in Q3.
“It wasn’t a great qualifying for me,” he admitted. “We struggled to make the tyres work. I just kept locking the front tyres and struggled to get into the corners. The car was better for me on used tyres than it was with a new set. The red flag didn’t help us there either, so my qualifying wasn’t great.”
While his side of the garage was less than happy, his 18 year old team-mate raced into Q3 for only the second time this season, and edged Massa out for eight place by the finest of margins. Having only scored his first F1 points at the previous round in Canada, he was full of praise for Stroll’s efforts in Baku.
“I’m very happy for Lance as he did a good job. He managed to get in a good laptime. He was in a good fight today and he managed to make the tyres work better than me.”