Felipe Massa could be “faster” than Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso – Sebastian Vettel
The reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel cannot “understand” why Felipe Massa has failed to make an impact at Ferrari in recent years. Felipa Massa, who teams up with the Championship leader Fernando Alonso, got his first podium finish in two years last Sunday at Suzuka.
The 2012 Championship now resembles a two-horse race between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard lost the chance to increase his lead on top of the Drivers Standings due to his collision on the first turn of the Japanese Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso had to announce an early retirement from the race because of his accident.
Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel took full advantage of this and recorded the maximum number of points by winning at Suzuka. After a woeful start to the season, Sebastian Vettel is in good position to win his third successive Championship title.
Due to his spectacular performance, Fernando Alonso has confirmed his seat with Ferrari for the next season. However, his teammate Felipe Massa has yet to earn his spot. In an interview to Folha de S.Paulo newspaper Sebastian Vettel said that he had a lot of “respect” for Felipe Massa.
“I don't understand. I really like Felipe as a person and respect him a lot as a driver,” Sebastian Vettel said. “Many people forget how much he has won and that he lost a title by one point to Lewis (Hamilton). Had he been champion, people would talk very differently about him. I don't understand why he has suffered so much in recent years.”
Felipe Massa, who had a near-fatal crash during a qualifying race at Budapest in 2009, insists he is the same driver who went against Lewis Hamilton for the Championship title. Back then Massa was force not be meddled with. Many considered him to be more than a match for his teammate Michael Schumacher, who was retiring at the height of his career.
“With all due respect to Fernando, I think Felipe can be as fast or sometimes even faster than him,” Sebastian Vettel said. “But then I don't always understand why the difference between them is so great. In the past Felipe has competed with very good drivers like Michael and Kimi and has always been fast, so I don't understand. But I'm not a Ferrari driver and so I don't know how things are there. It's just a shame that people forget things so quickly. In 2008 he (Massa) was seen as one of the best and now he's not. If his engine had not blown up in Hungary he would be a champion. I know I keep saying 'if', but that's the way it is," Vettel is quoted as saying.”