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Page last updated at 19:06 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Felipe Massa fastest in Valencia test with new Ferrari

Felipe Massa in the Ferrari F10
Massa marks his return to contemporary F1 with fastest time

Ferrari's Felipe Massa is optimistic about his chances in 2010 after setting the fastest time on the first day of official winter testing in Valencia.

Massa, who missed the second half of last season after suffering a fractured skull in a crash at the Hungarian Grand Prix, was pleased with the new Ferrari.

"It has more grip than the 2009 car," he said. "When you have more grip you also have much more fun driving.

"I ran some 100 laps but I could have gone for 200. No physical problems."

Massa was on the pace all day, setting the fastest time in the morning and afternoon sessions.

He also proved his fitness by completing 102 laps of the Valencia track - 16 laps more than any other driver present.

You cannot judge the performance on the first day, you only have a feeling and the feeling is very positive

Felipe Massa

During his 32 laps in the morning he worked down to a best of one minute 13.088 seconds, 0.159secs faster than Pedro de la Rosa in the new BMW Sauber C29.

De la Rosa for a time took top spot during the afternoon, but in the closing moments Massa grabbed it back from the Spaniard with a lap of 1min 12.574secs.

De la Rosa ended the day second-fastest on 1min 12.784sec.

"It went beyond expectations," said Massa. "From what we have seen we are going in the right direction, but of course we know there is still a lot of work to do.

"You cannot judge the performance on the first day, you only have a feeling and the feeling is very positive."

This was not Massa's first run in an F1 car since his accident - he has driven a 2007 Ferrari at Fiorano and Mugello and a 2008 version at Barcelona in recent weeks - but it did mark his return to contemporary F1.


And this year's cars are much longer because of the bigger fuel tanks required because of the ban on mid-race refuelling.

"When you look in the rear view mirrors and you realise how far away the rear wheels are compared to what they used to be," said Massa.

"We have to be careful when we overtake another car not to pull back too sharply."

Massa's new team-mate Fernando Alonso will take over on Tuesday and Wednesday to complete the driving duties for Ferrari to conclude the three-day test.

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see also
Schumacher impresses on F1 return
01 Feb 10 |  Formula 1
F1 test day one as it happened
01 Feb 10 |  Formula 1

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