Big chance for Massa
Brazilian has opportunity to impress at Ferrari's home race
By Mike Wise at Monza. Last Updated: September 9, 2012 8:52am
Felipe Massa knows he has a golden opportunity to stake a claim for his Ferrari future in their home race on Sunday.
The Brazilian will line up third on the grid for the Italian Grand Prix after his best qualifying performance of the season. Massa now seeks his first win since his home race in 2008.
He starts behind McLaren pair Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button but ahead of team-mate and current World Championship leader Fernando Alonso.
Having been in contention for pole, Alonso could only set the 10th fastest time after the rear anti-roll bar on his car broke ahead of the final qualifying session.
"We go to the grid thinking about victory, thinking about doing the maximum you can to win the race and that's what I'm going to do tomorrow," Massa said on Saturday.
"They (McLaren) are very strong, they are quick but we have 53 laps in the race. We know how different the race can be compared to qualifying so for sure I want to try everything I can."
Massa's future at Ferrari has been in doubt for most of the season. The marque's F2012 car has lacked the performance of its rivals, although that has not stopped Alonso from claiming three victories.
In contrast, Massa has not finished on the podium since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix and currently stands 129 points behind Alonso in the Drivers' Championship.
"I know how important it is for me," Massa said of Sunday's race. "As I said before, I will try everything to win."
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Massa's grid slot was secured after Ferrari's decision to ask their drivers to give the other an aerodynamic tow at the high-speed Monza track to boost their qualifying times came unstuck.
Alonso and Massa had been practicing the manoeuvre, in which one car pulls the other in its slipstream down the straights, during morning practice.
They also used it earlier in qualifying but the problem on Alonso's car meant that Massa could not rely on his team-mate when it came to the crunch.
In the event, he didn't need him. Massa explained: "It's never very easy to make that (the tow) in qualifying but I think we were able to do a little bit in Q1 and Q2. Fernando helped me on the first try on Q3 but he was supposed to do his lap on the second time, I was supposed to help him on the second lap.
"Then I was behind Vettel, he braked completely, he almost stopped his car in the second chicane. I passed him so I said I'd try, just to see, as I never did one lap without the tow.
"I think it was nice to try even knowing that I had my already had my first timed lap in Q3. I tried and I improved, so I was pretty happy to do that."