Felipe Massa says hot weather expected for 2013 Hungarian GP will suit Ferrari
But Brazilian expects another strong race for Red Bull
By James Galloway. Last Updated: 22/07/13 2:19pm
Felipe Massa is optimistic that the sweltering conditions forecast for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix will boost Ferrari's hopes of a strong showing, even if he admits the track has traditionally suited Red Bull.
The Maranello outfit's title hopes head into a critical phase of the season either side of the impending summer break with the team needing to buck the trend which has seen Sebastian Vettel win two of the last three races and open up a 34-point Drivers' Championship lead over Fernando Alonso.
Ferrari were outpaced by both Red Bull and Lotus at the last race in Germany, where Alonso finished fourth, and have generally been only the third or fourth-fastest team at best in qualifying in recent months.
Massa insists Ferrari are continuing to work on improving the F138's weaker areas and is welcoming the prospect of high ambient conditions at the Hungaroring, with Budapest currently sizzling in 30-degree plus temperatures.
"We are trying everything we can to improve the car and make the car better," he said.
"Even if Hungary is normally a good track for Red Bull, I hope we can be competitive there. It should be hotter; we didn't have so many hot races this year and I think it's important to get the hot conditions as they're always a big help for our car.
"So I hope we can be competitive there."
Massa, who has targeted improved consistency in his own form after a wretched recent run of results, admits that perennial rivals Red Bull will likely pose the biggest challenge this weekend, with the Brazilian also suspecting the woes that single-lap kings Mercedes again experienced in Germany may continue.
Asked if Mercedes could also be a big threat this weekend, the Brazilian replied: "In the qualifying, yes. In the race maybe a bit less.
"You always look at Red Bull as the more complete car talking about qualifying and talking about the race. Mercedes is normally the quickest car in the qualifying and they normally struggle a little bit more in the race. Maybe even now that we cannot swap tyres anymore they struggle even more.
"Anyway, we just need to concentrate on ourselves and try to make our car as quick as possible. In the qualifying [we need to] maybe [be] a little bit more quicker and also [stay] in the good level we always show in the race."