Alonso backs team-mate Massa to come good
Fernando Alonso has promised Felipe Massa his full support for the remainder of the season as he is convinced the Brazilian is capable of fighting for wins.
After a wretched start to the campaign, scoring just two points from the opening five races, Massa finally proved his worth to Ferrari in Monaco at the weekend.
After qualifying in the top 10 for the first time this year, and even threatening to start ahead of Alonso, Massa went on to finish sixth, three places behind the title-leading Spaniard.
Although Massa currently trails Alonso in the standings by 66 points, and is undoubtedly the number two driver at Ferrari, the latter still firmly believes in his team-mate.
“It’s hard to think Felipe won’t win many points in the second part of the season, that he won’t make podiums or fight for wins. He’s got the talent for it,” said Alonso.
“It’s been an unfortunate start to the season because of a number of things – bad luck, a slower adaptation than before to the tyres... Felipe’s results weren’t normal.
“He’s got all my support, and all the support of the team to change the situation around.
“Or to change his results because many times in practice or qualifying we’re very close. but then in the race, because of the start or he got hit, he would be towards the back early on.
“In Monaco it looks like his results changed, so we hope that from here on it will all go well for him.”
Alonso, meanwhile, believes this week’s Canadian Grand Prix will prove to be a more reliable benchmark of where Ferrari stand in the pecking order.
The 31-year-old’s championship lead is in a car many feel is far from the best in the field, and given the topsy-turvy nature of F1 this season he has arguably lucked into his success.
Alonso said: “In Canada we want to confirm our improvement and be competitive in a more ‘normal’ circuit because Monaco is unique due to its characteristics and Barcelona has very quick corners.
“Canada and Valencia are going to be two very important tests for us to see if we can really put both Ferraris in Q3, like we did in Monaco, and opt to be in the top places.
“We’re taking some upgrades to Canada, a race both on and off the track because all the big teams are going to bring new parts so let’s see whose works best.
“We’ve tried to extract the most of what we had and our rivals have let their guards down.
“This year two or three tenths (of a second) makes you lose or gain five or six places, because everything is very close.”