Felipe Massa uncertain how Bahrain GP starting tyre 'gamble' will work out in race

While Sky Sports F1's pundits disagree over strategy

By James Galloway.   Last Updated: 20/04/13 4:12pm

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Felipe Massa: Has rolled the strategy dice

Felipe Massa: Has rolled the strategy dice

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Felipe Massa has conceded he has taken a "gamble" in opting to start on the harder compound tyres for the Bahrain GP - a decision which was heavily influenced by the penalties of Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber.

Ferrari opted to split their strategies for the pole shootout as Sakhir with Fernando Alonso going for the conventional strategy on the faster medium tyre, while Massa set his final times on the slower orange-marked hards.

While Massa set only the sixth-fastest Q3 lap he will actually line up alongside his team-mate on the second row thanks to grid demotions for Mercedes' Hamilton and Red Bull's Webber.

The difference between the two tyre compounds is not as pronounced as in Shanghai last weekend and Massa admitted his strategy could go one of two ways.

"It can be positive," the two-times Bahrain GP winner mused to Sky Sports F1.

"I saw the possibility to gain position from two cars which will lose position, so that's why maybe [we] concentrated on the hard. Let's try. It's a gamble - maybe it works, maybe not, we don't know.

"If it works it can be a very good thing for tomorrow."

Indeed, Massa's uncertain outlook over his strategy was shared by the Sky Sports F1 pundity team, who differed in opinion on whether the reverse tyre approach would pay dividends for the Ferrari number two.

Johnny Herbert certainly felt it might, explaining: "It's a very brave thing for Felipe and his team to do.

"It may work in his favour because the track has been changing in the last couple of hours even through the practicing. I think that is a very shrewd move.

"Felipe is very happy and confident at this circuit but he has still got his team-mate in front of him, who is going to be very tough to beat."

However, Damon Hill countered: "I think it's a mistake. I can't see that working because there isn't a big enough gap between the tyres."

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