Having completed a brilliant qualifying lap in Q3 for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Felipe Massa went on to spin out of the race, losing a much-needed second place.
The Brazilian scored a ‘nil points’ in Australia as well meaning that he has yet to score a point. Ferrari’s team new team principal, Stefano Domenicali, has made it clear however, that he isn’t concerned.
There are two possible explanations for why Massa lost it at Turn 6 on Sunday; one was the story that Ferrari was pushing and that was that the car, having hit a kerb at the previous corner, stalled its aerodynamics. I sadly didn’t see whether or not this happened – the TV coverage only showed the spin from just before the back of the car lost its way – so cannot comment.
The other explanation is that Massa, as we saw in turn one of the Australian Grand Prix may well be pushing the car too hard or indeed momentarily losing concentration.
I am sure that whatever the reasoning behind the Brazilian’s two ‘moments’, Ferrari is more worried than they appear to be. For starters, their main opposition has scored good points with both Hamilton and Kovalainen at both Grand Prix so far. Ferrari need both their drivers finishing in the points to make sure they have a realistic bid to win the Constructors Championship.
If we are to believe that the car did lose its aerodynamics then that may well be worse than Massa merely having a ‘moment’. Having already been plagued by engine troubles the last thing the Scuderia needs is another gremlin in their 2008 car. Lots of other cars on the grid hit the kerbs, yet carry on as normal.
If Massa has just had two bad races that may not be such a problem, yes he could possibly be pressured by Raikkonen’s pace and by the fact that he has a realistic chance at winning the Championship but he is one of the best drivers in the world. If he wasn’t he wouldn’t be recording qualifying times like he did, or winning races like he has. He will no doubt bounce back in Bahrain.
However, the longer he goes without scoring points, in what appears to be the fastest car on the grid, the more pressure he is going to feel. If, in two weeks time, Massa’s car swaps ends again, I have a feeling Ferrari will be running out of excuses.