Qualifying will be crucial in Singapore, says Massa
Driving on a street circuit and with monsoonal rain a threat, Ferrari's Felipe Massa says a quick qualifying time will be crucial at the Singapore Grand Prix this week.india Updated: Sep 24, 2008 10:08 IST
Driving on a street circuit and with monsoonal rain a threat, Ferrari's Felipe Massa says a quick qualifying time will be crucial at the Singapore Grand Prix this week.
The Brazilian, just one point behind world championship leader Lewis Hamilton after the Briton lost his Belgian Grand Prix appeal on Tuesday, knows the overtaking opportunities will limited.
"Saturday will be very important," he said of the qualifying session that will be held at 10:00 pm with Singapore making history as the sport's first-ever night race.
"I've never driven on the Singapore track but it'll be even more difficult to overtake compared to Valencia, because the straights are even shorter," the 26-year-old told the Straits Times newspaper here.
Massa won in Valencia -- another street circuit new to the calendar this year -- after starting from pole position.
Singapore will have several overtaking possibilities, the best at the end of Raffles Boulevard and as the cars cross Esplanade Bridge and brake for the righthander at the Theatres on the Bay.
But street circuits are notoriously difficult for overtaking and with the way cars are designed these days, with a heavy dependence on their wings to generate downforce and grip, it will be even harder.
"These days it is not very easy to overtake in Formula One, the cars have great aerodynamic downforce," said Massa.
"When you are behind a car, you lose downforce."
Rain is another potential hazard come Sunday.
Singapore was lashed by wet weather on Wednesday, and Massa would prefer that it was dry.
"I would prefer it to be dry in Singapore, but we can do well and have a consistent race in the wet as well," he told the newspaper.
Massa's chances of claiming the world championship received a big boost when Hamilton lost his appeal to have his win in Belgium reinstated after the FIA ruling body confirmed a 25-second sanction against him for cutting a chicane.
The confirmation of Hamilton's demotion to third place means Massa claims the victory, slashing the Briton's lead in the drivers' championship to a single point.
Massa insisted he was only focused on the task ahead in Singapore.
"I'm concentrating on my season and my race here," he said when asked about the appeal.