Motorsport

Ferrari pair play down chances

2012-04-11 18:00
Fernando Alonso (File)

Rome - Ferrari pair Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa have limited expectations from this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

But while the one is not expecting to match his previous performances this season, the other believes things can only get better.

Spain's two-time world champion Alonso is the championship leader having stormed to a shock victory in the rain in Malaysia following a battling fifth place in Australia.

That is something no-one expected from a Ferrari car that has looked well off the pace and has certainly proved that way in qualifying.

Massa has yet to make final qualifying while Alonso only managed it in Malaysia where he took eighth place on the grid.

"For sure, arriving here in China as the leader of the championship is something I would never have expected, at least given the way winter testing went," admitted Alonso on Ferrari's official website.

"It means we have done a good job, managing to make use of all the potential at our disposal and making the most of every opportunity.

"I'm not expecting any surprises in this race, compared to what we saw in Australia and Malaysia.

"It's true almost three weeks have gone by, but that does not mean there was enough time to completely turn the car around in such a short time.

"We will have a few small updates, but nothing particularly significant and on top of that, we can expect that the other teams will also bring some new parts."

Although Alonso does not think he will be competing with the likes of McLaren and Red Bull, Massa just wants to have a trouble-free race.

His best qualifying position has been 12th while his only finish was down in 15th.

"I really hope I can have a normal Grand Prix without problems, right from Friday," he said.

"That is fundamental to being able to finally get a good result.

"I know it won't be easy, also because I don't think we can expect any major new elements, at least in the short term.

"We will have to try and squeeze every last drop out of what we have, as Fernando has managed to do in both Australia and Malaysia."

The Brazilian acknowledges, however, that he is under pressure.

He is in the last year of his contract with the Italian manufacturer and he has consistently been outshone by Alonso.

And the Spaniard's two fine performances this season have been in stark contrast to Massa's.

But the Brazilian is trying to stay positive.

"It's a tricky time for me and it cannot go on and I really don't want it to that's for sure," he said.

"I know there is plenty of criticism of me from the outside, but I'm used to that, as it's certainly not the first time it has happened.

"I feel the team has faith in me and that's what matters. I am well aware, having been through it many times in the past, that it takes very little for a situation to swing from negative to positive."

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