Felipe Massa was left frustrated at the end of the Abu Dhabi GP after Ferrari put him onto medium rather than soft tires, costing him pace and the chance to beat teammate Fernando Alonso.
Massa had run 18 laps from the start on soft tires, and Ferrari made the call to put him on mediums for the final stint despite the fact that there were only 17 laps left to run, the car was lighter, and the temperature had dropped dramatically. Massa eventually finished eighth while Alonso, who stopped 11 laps from home for softs, finished fifth.
“We made a mistake,” he said. “I didn’t expect to use the medium in the last stint as well, I expected to use the soft. I did 19 laps [sic] at the beginning, and I was the best car on the soft, and then we decide to stop in the last moment the second time, and I expected to see the soft tires on the car, and I saw the other ones, so it was a problem.
“That was the mistake of my race. Without this problem I would have finished easily in the top five, I would have got completely behind [Vergne], passed him in two corners. We were behind Hamilton, I would have passed him easily on different tires, maybe one second quicker, and we’d have a free track in front. That was a mistake.”
Massa said he hadn’t asked for softs because he thought the choice was obvious.
“I didn’t discuss because for me it was clear that it was going to be the soft, and also they called me at the end of the lap and said stopping now is better, and then there was no time to speak about the tires. For me it was clear.
“I think it was a little bit too conservative. For if my first stint was 12 laps or 13 laps it’s pretty acceptable, 17 laps at the end with a quick pace, maybe you’re not going to have tires any more. But I did 19 laps, in the sun. It was still hot, it was colder at the end with more grip, for sure. That was the problem.
“Definitely, I’m not happy, because today I was doing a great race, all the time fighting and overtaking cars, a very good race all the time, a good pace, and then suddenly I didn’t finish in the position I was supposed to finish, so this is a bit frustrating. Anyway I think I showed a good pace, and this is important, to show a good pace, a good race.”
However he denied that there had been any attempt by the team to hamper him and favour Alonso.
“For sure not. The team needs points, the team needs to score as many points as possible, the team will never do that to me. It’s not really even close to my mind that the team is doing something. I believe in the team and I will believe until the last moment. But today as I said it was a mistake. We could have scored more points today.”
Meanwhile Massa said he had no view on the Vergne/Alonso incident: “I don’t know. I didn’t see it so well.”