Felipe Massa has revealed that his unusual spin during the early stages of the German Grand Prix was due to driver error and he failed to rejoin the race due to his car being stuck in fifth gear. That meant he could not pull away, eventually having to call it a day.
The incident occurred at turn one on lap three after the Brazilian had made progress from seventh on the grid. Speaking to reporters at the Nurburgring circuit after the race, Massa explained: “I braked at the straight and locked the rear wheels, The car went sidewards to the right and then I corrected and it went sideways to the left.
“I stopped the car and was in fifth gear and tried to go down to first to get out but the gear was not going down. I was stuck in fifth gear. I tried to get out but the engine stopped, went out because it is difficult to leave in fifth gear. It just was not possible.”
Despite his short-lived German race, he still got a glimpse of the running order and the updated Pirelli tyres: “I see Red Bull were competitive in qualifying and in the race and Lotus was competitive as well, in the race more than in qualifying. Mercedes were very competitive in qualifying, a bit less for the race as when it gets a bit hot they suffer a lot more and use more of the tyres.
“We were more or less there, the car was not so bad on this track so I think maybe the Red Bulls were a bit stronger than us and the Lotus as well. But I don’t think it [the tyres] changed so much, I don’t think it was a big thing.”
Team-mate Fernando Alonso finished the race in fourth place and just missed out on a podium after a late charge. The Spaniard admitted that they lost out in the early stages and that fourth was the best possible result: “This was pretty much the maximum that we could do. The race was not bad, which is reflected in the fact that we were only a few seconds behind the winner. We had sixty good laps, but it was not enough for the podium.
“We were actually surprised by how long the Soft tyres lasted at the beginning. We thought the first pit-stops would come on the sixth of seventh lap, but Grosjean didn’t stop until around the 12th [sic. 14th]. We lost out in the first 20 laps, when we should have been faster. The podium might have been possible otherwise.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic