Saturday, 26 May 2007

Massa leads Ferrari assault on Mclarens

I am not a huge fan of Massa. He is super quick, as his dominant wins from pole in Bahrain and Barcelona have shown, but he has yet to impress under pressure. The true mark of a world champion is his ability to deliver in the face of adversity, to win in spite of inferior machinery, to pull something out of the bag when the chips are down.

On this front, lacklustre performances from Massa in Melbourne and Sepang suggest Brazilian still has a long way to go. True, he started from the back in Australia, but even so, his drive through the pack lacked the same grittiness that Schumacher and Alonso have shown under similar circumstances. And his total inability to cope with the pressure from Lewis Hamilton in Sepang puts a serious question mark over his wheel-to-wheel combat skills.

That said, I was impressed by his performance in qualifying today. The Mclaren was clearly the more superior machinery to be in around the twisty streets of Monte-Carlo. In spite of this Massa pulled out a stunning lap in the dying seconds of Q3 to go third quickest, less than a tenth of a second shy of the on form Lewis Hamilton. It begs the question that perhaps he is running slightly lighter than the two Mclarens ahead of him. Nevertheless, he could spring a surprise in what is always, to some degrees, a lottery of a race at Monaco. In his own words:

“The race in Monaco is always special, there are always some surprises, so hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow, try to score as many points as possible and hopefully be on the podium.”

William Hill has the Brazilian at 6/1 for the win. Worth a punt?

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