Massa plots Canadian comeback

Felipe Massa blew the chance of a maiden Monaco Grand Prix victory, but is confident Ferrari will bounce back in Montreal.

An all-red front row should have yielded more than the six points Massa collected for his third place from pole, with Kimi Raikkonen concluding a wretched race by finishing ninth.

With a third of the season completed, it means Raikkonen trails race winner Lewis Hamilton by three points in the drivers’ standings, with Massa a further point back.

Although the Brazilian was comfortably away from the front of the grid as rain dominated the early part of a race that ran for the full two hours, a spin and poor strategy led to his downfall.

“Saturday was one of the best pole positions of my career, and with a heavy car (on fuel),” assessed Massa.

“Everything was pointing in the right direction to fight for the victory, and we were fighting because I was very quick at the beginning when it was very wet. I was even pulling away.

“I heard Lewis had a problem, but then everything turned when the track started to dry and we had a lot of problems when we stopped and put a lot of fuel in the car.

“We made a mistake on the strategy as we were waiting for the rain (later in the race), which didn’t come.

“It was a little bit of a gamble. Sometimes it works perfectly on this track, sometimes it doesn’t work. The weather forecast was perfect most of the time, but it wasn’t when we really expected it would rain again.”

Massa feels Ferrari will be strong in another race that should favour McLaren, the Canadian Grand Prix in 13 days’ time.

Hamilton won another incident-filled event a year ago from pole as Ferrari again made mistakes.

Massa added: “We will be stronger than last year because, in this race, McLaren were not unbeatable.

“We had great pace in both the rain and on the dry, but with all the circumstances we were unable to fight with Hamilton.

“Because I don’t think McLaren were unbeatable here, we have the same feelings for Montreal, so the championship is very open.

“We have a good car, a good team, and this race will not change our possibilities to fight over the season.”

Penalty for team Raikkonen

As for Raikkonen, a major gaffe by his team resulted in a 10-second drive-through penalty as they failed to fully fit his tyres at the three-minute signal prior to the start of the race.

The reigning world champion, starting from second on the grid, was then passed by Hamilton on the run to the first corner at Sainte Devote.

After Raikkonen served the penalty, there followed two nose-cone changes as one minor incident early on was followed by a major shunt 10 minutes from the end of the two-hour race.

Losing control of his Ferrari coming out of the tunnel, the Finn rammed into the back of Force India’s Adrian Sutil at a time when they were running fourth and fifth.

Sutil was forced to retire, and was later seen sobbing his heart out in his team’s garage, whilst Raikkonen managed to rejoin, only to miss out on a points-scoring finish by one place.

Assessing the situation, Raikkonen added: “It was a very poor race for me, right from the off.

“It’s true I’ve lost the lead, but I always said the championship would be a very long one. Now we must prepare as well as possible for Canada, where we will try to make up for this disappointment.”

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