Massa Takes Dominant Spanish Grand Prix Victory
Topics: Spanish Grand Prix, Felipe Massa
May 18, 2007
Felipe Massa, driving for Ferrari, won the 2007 FIA Formula One Spanish Grand prix at the Circuit de Catalunya which is located in Barcelona, Spain. Massa takes a dominant victory by etching a record of one hour 31 minutes and 36.230 seconds. This is his way of making a second hat-trick after the 2007 Bahrain Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso - both from the McLaren Mercedes - came second and third with one hour, 31 minutes, 43.020 seconds and one hour, 31 minutes, 53.686 seconds, respectively.
"Fantastic!! I cannot find the words to describe the emotions I feel after such a closely fought race. The duel at the start was very tight: I took some risks but I absolutely did not want to lose position and that meant we touched when he came up the inside of me. Luckily, the car was undamaged, and so I was immediately able to pull away from my pursuers. I wanted to get a good lead straight away so that I could manage the situation in the second stint of the race and that's how it went," shares Massa.
During the Winners’ press conference, Massa divulged some of the nerve-tracking events on the race track. He said, “Well, it was a little bit tight for both of us (Alonso) but I was just inside and I went for it so it was quite a risk for both of us, but looking at the competition and everything, the first corner is important. I just didn't want to lose out like I lost out in Malaysia. I was inside, so I just tried to stay there.”
Asked if there was any contact between him and Fernando in the first corner, Massa said, “Yeah, we touched. We were both very close going into the first corner. Fernando was trying to push me inside and we just touched each other. It was a very small contact but I was also a bit afraid for my car afterwards but fortunately nothing happened.”
Massa noted, “I think the most difficult part of the race was the start. It was pretty tough but afterwards I saw that nothing had happened to my car, that the car was responding quite well and I was managing to build a gap, quite a good gap, straightaway, so after that, I had the race in my hands. I was just concerned about the car, it was the second race for the engine but looking at the gap I was building, I think I had the race in my hands there.”
At this year’s Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton became the youngest driver ever to lead the F1 drivers' championship, beating the record held since 1960 by Bruce McLaren - the founder of the McLaren team.
“Going into the race, we knew we had a very good strategy. At this track you can't really overtake, so the key is to try and get the best position in the first corner and so the aim was to get as many places at the first corner and fortunately I got past Kimi but Fernando and Felipe touched and I was able to get past Fernando. It was very close, I think when he came back on, he nearly hit me but nevertheless, we managed to pull it off. We didn't particularly have the pace of Felipe but I think we took another step closer and, as I said to him just now, we'll get him soon,” Hamilton quipped.
He noted, “We were trying to decide whether to run two primes or an option or a prime in the second and third stints and we weren't really quite sure and five laps before the pit stop we made the decision and stuck with it and I think it went quite well. But as I said, we struggled in the middle stint with a bit of oversteer but still the team has done a fantastic job over the last four weeks, really really pushed hard, so thank you to all the guys back home. You've really done a great job and I'm just pleased for the team. We're leading the Constructors' titles and now leading the (Drivers') championship.”
Talking about having more fuel on board than Massa, Hamilton said that was a critical issue. He added, “He (Massa) did already pull out quite a good gap. So when he pitted in front of me, a few laps before me, I knew I would be quick, but I would only get him back maybe four seconds, so I just had to keep pushing and try to do the best job I could, but the middle stint again wasn't great. But at the end, I think we had a very good pace and very similar times to Felipe.”
“I keep saying that I'm living my dream, and it's really true, you know. I've been working so hard for this and to come to only my fourth Grand Prix to come out of it leading the World Championship when I'm driving with the top drivers in the world is just incredible,” Hamilton noted.
Alonso, pressed with high expectations in his homeland, has this to say about the first corner: “Well, it was very tight. I think the start was very similar between the two cars but then obviously I put myself behind Felipe and thanks to the slipstream I was a little bit quicker. I went on the outside, I braked later and I think I was much in front of him in the first corner, but unfortunately he didn't think so and we touched each other. We were lucky to both finish the race because in 99 percent of these type of incidents, both cars will finish (their race) at the first corner. Sometimes I think this type of thing is very dangerous.”
Alonso intimated his obvious feeling of disappointment in racing at his home Grand Prix. He said, “Of course, no doubt there is disappointment with the race itself. After the first corner, you can try as hard as you can, you can put on different sets of tyres compared to your rivals, you can put on whatever you want. But being fourth, as I said, thanks to Kim's retirement - otherwise I probably wouldn't be on the podium - after starting second, that was not the aim of the race.”
The event was the fourth race of the season and for the fourth time the BMW Sauber F1 Team had a car finish fourth. BMW brake dust shields along with enhanced racing parts could make the difference in the upcoming event. In Spain, it was Robert Kubica who contributed the five championship points to the team's tally.
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