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Felipe Massa’s guide to Silverstone

  1. 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 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.

  2. Abbey – corner 1

    “You need to be aggressive because it’s a very high speed corner, so you need to carry as much speed as you can which means you need a very stable car. To be honest you need a stable car for most of Silverstone because most of the corners are high speed.”

  3. Village – corner 3

    “It’s a very tricky corner, lots of strong braking so you always have some front lock-up there.”

  4. The Loop – corner 4

    “Then it’s a big change of direction for corner 4, which is a very slow corner so you really need a good line, not turn in too early otherwise you lose traction on the exit. You need good traction because after [through corner 5] that you have a long straight, where you can use DRS.”

  5. Brooklands – corner 6

    “It’s faster than it looks, you need to brake and turn the car in very aggressively, trying to get the inside kerb, and then not go so wide on the exit, because it costs you when turning in for the next corner [Luffield].”

  6. Luffield – corner 7

    “Turn in and leave a little bit of space in the middle of the corner to have a better view on the exit and to get good traction.”

  7. Copse – corner 9

    “This one is a very quick corner. I think you won’t be flat out this year, you need to go down one or two gears. You need good stability but it’s a nice corner to do.”

  8. Maggots-Becketts – corners 10-11-12-13

    “You have just this incredible sector; very quick corners requiring quick changes of direction. It’s a very difficult sector: you’ll always find a little bit of understeer, especially in corner 12, but go too quick and you’ll lose time in corner 13, so it’s one of those sectors that’s very difficult to put together.”

  9. Hangar Straight into Stowe – corner 15

    “After 14 [Chapel] you have a very long straight, and into another high speed corner which is 15 [Stowe]. It’s slower than 9 but it’s a corner where you always have understeer, so you need a good line.

  10. Vale into Club – corners 16-17-18

    “The final part of the track starts with a very slow corner [Vale], and the tyres are always hot at this point because of these high speed corners, so it’s very easy to lock up both the fronts and rears. You need to use all the kerbs to prepare the exit because you have very difficult traction on 17 and 18, which are the last two corners.

    “The rear is always a bit light here, so you need to prepare your exit otherwise you lose traction.”

    And then, it’s flat out down the start-finish straight…

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