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Felipe Massa plays down taking the F1 championship lead

Highlights - Malaysian Grand Prix (UK users only)

Felipe Massa played down the importance of his taking the world championship lead after the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver tops the standings after finishing seventh in Malaysia, two points clear of team-mate Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

"We need to work to improve the car because Red Bull is very strong and McLaren is strong as well," said Massa.

"It's always nice to be leading the championship but things can change in one race because it's so competitive."

Eight points separate the top six drivers after three races of what looks set to be a hugely competitive season.

McLaren's Jenson Button and Mercedes' Nico Rosberg are four points adrift of Massa on 35 points, with Lewis Hamilton in sixth place on 31 points.

Massa pleased with 'positive' result

"We still have 16 races to go," said the Brazilian, who came back this season after missing the final eight races of 2009 to recover from a fractured skull suffered in a crash at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"It was a very exciting race, especially if you look where we started, 21st, and we finished seventh so it was definitely positive.

"We are in the championship but we need to work step by step to improve because many drivers are there, many things can change in one race, so that's why we need to keep our feet on the ground.

"We need to work hard not to repeat what happened yesterday in the qualifying and we also need to work to improve the car race by race."

Massa reflects on comeback after injury

Strategic errors made by Ferrari during Saturday's rain-affected qualifying meant Massa started 21st on the grid, two places behind his team-mate.

Alonso battled gearbox problems throughout Sunday's race, but looked set to finish ninth and preserve his championship lead until he was forced to retire with two laps remaining.

"From the start things went wrong," said the Spaniard.

"On the formation lap my gearbox broke and I had no clutch during the race, so I had to break in a weird way.


"It was probably the hardest race of my whole life in terms of driving, because I had to improvise for every corner.

"But even so we were going to get a few points which in the end was not possible because of the engine.

"But if the gearbox and then the engine are going to break, it is better that it happens when you are ninth than when you are leading and you lose 25 points."

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Malaysian Grand Prix

RaceLast updated: 15 Nov 2012 12:35 UK
Position Country Driver Race Time
1 germany S Vettel 1:33:48.412
2 australia M Webber 1:33:53.261
3 germany N Rosberg 1:34:01.916
4 poland R Kubica 1:34:07.001
5 germany A Sutil 1:34:09.471
6 great britain L Hamilton 1:34:11.883
7 brazil F Massa 1:34:15.480
8 great britain J Button 1:34:26.330
9 spain J Alguersuari 1:34:59.014
10 germany N Hulkenberg 1:35:01.811

see also
Vettel storms to Malaysian GP win
04 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Philosophical Webber rues lapse
04 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton pleased with fight-back
04 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Malaysian GP as it happened
04 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren & Ferrari rue rain errors
03 Apr 10 |  Formula 1
Webber masters rain to grab pole
03 Apr 10 |  Formula 1

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