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Massa: There's always been pressure

NEWS STORY
14/01/2011

Felipe Massa is the first to admit that 2010 was not a good season. However, the Brazilian insists that he still deserves to be in the second seat at Ferrari and that he can challenge for wins and the title.

Ignoring the comments from the leader of his own team, some of the harshest criticism for the Brazilian last year was to be found on message boards and forums where armchair experts declared the 29-year-old was finished and not worthy of a place at Ferrari.

How soon they had forgotten Massa's efforts to win the title in 2008, his dignity in the aftermath of the season finale. How quickly they had forgotten the near fatal accident at the Hungaroring a year later, an accident that came at a time when his form was clearly improving.

To add insult to injury, at the end of last season, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo took a clear swipe at the Brazilian, claiming that at times it appeared as though his brother was driving the F10, months after the team had ordered him to surrender his lead in the German GP to teammate Fernando Alonso.

Speaking at Wroom, the Maranello outfit's pre-season media event, Massa - who can include Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and Jacques Villeneuve among his teammate - talked of the pressure.

"I've always felt pressure in my career, indeed I'm the first to put pressure on myself," he said. "You notice external pressure but it's much less important. What counts is what you show on the track, inside the cockpit of the car, and how the team makes you feel - and I feel the faith and respect that Ferrari has for me. I like reading that they speak well of me, I certainly don't deny that, but I think that's the same for everyone. What counts is that I know, if I have a car that suits my characteristics, that I will be able to battle for the title."

Referring to di Montezemolo's comments, he added: "Montezemolo has spoken about having my brother driving in certain races last year? But he'd already spoken about brothers the year before, that time it was Kimi's! I know that last year things didn't go well but now we have to look to the future and do well this year."

Finally, referring to his Spanish teammate, the Brazilian said: "I have a great respect for Fernando: we have a good relationship, we work very well together and there are no problems at all. It's clear that I want to be ahead of him but that is normal. In 2010 I didn't manage it because I wasn't comfortable with the tyres but I hope to battle with him this year: I'm perfectly prepared for that. We will have the same treatment, as has always been the case at Ferrari. I feel very focused and have faith in my chances."

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