Felipe Massa is not having a very good season. We know this because, in Friday’s first practice at Silverstone, he had a big shunt.
And also, speaking to TG.com before the start of the Silverstone action, the former Ferrari man and current Williams F1 driver tell us as much. Massa reckons that though the team has a good base – there’s deep-rooted pace in that new Williams – “the races so far could have been much better for me”.
It certainly appears that Formula One’s bad luck donkey favours Massa as much as it favours Hamilton. He was shunted off the track on the first lap by Kobayashi in the season-opener at Australia, ending his race.
Then a pit-stop error at the Chinese GP (where the rear wheel was fitted to the wrong side before the mistake was realised) cost him precious time, and that horrendous high-speed crash with Perez in Canada just when he was on course for a podium finish.
This is the man, don’t forget, who could very nearly have been a Formula One world champion, were it not for Lewis Hamilton and that last-gasp overtake at the final race in Brazil, 2008.
And yet Massa is upbeat Silverstone; a track he loves, and a race that marks both Silverstone’s 50th GP and Massa’s 200th GP. Quite a big occasion, then.
“I still think things can turn around and we can get the results from now until the end of the season,” he says. The car’s certainly good, and the veteran F1 driver is clearly enjoying the new turbo era. “The turbos have a lot of torque and less downforce, so it’s not that easy to drive, but it’s definitely a lot of fun. You need to change your driving style a bit – you can’t be so aggressive otherwise you’ll destroy your tyres very quickly.
“The noise isn’t great, though, something that’s bad for us but more so for the fans.”
And he does care about the fans. “I think I can expect a similar feeling to what you experience in Monza when you’re with Ferrari and you’re faced with the Tifosi. British fans are really in love with Formula One – they’re crazy for F1 and Williams, so it’ll be a great feeling with that support.”
So, seeing as he likes you lot, we asked him to talk us through a hot lap of one of the fastest circuits in Formula One.