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Felipe Massa vows to assist Fernando Alonso's title bid

Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos, 5-7 November
Qualifying: 1500-1720 on BBC One, Red Button, online and 5 live sports extra
Race: 1510-1815 on BBC One, Red Button, online and Radio 5 live sports extra

Felipe Massa (left) and Fernando Alonso (right)
Massa moved aside to allow team-mate Alonso win the German Grand Prix

By Sarah Holt and Andrew Benson
BBC Sport in Sao Paulo

Felipe Massa says he will help Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso win the title in Brazil on Sunday.

Massa controversially moved over to let Alonso win July's German Grand Prix, which helped the Spaniard take an 11-point lead into the penultimate race.

"Taking points away from other drivers that are fighting for the title is important," said the Brazilian. "So I see myself [doing that].

"If Alonso wins here it is good for the team. I think he can do it."

Alonso arrived at the Brazilian Grand Prix at the head of a pack of five drivers still mathematically in contention for the 2010 crown.

Red Bull's Mark Webber is 11 points behind Alonso and is followed in the standings by McLaren's 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel and defending world champion Jenson Button of McLaren.

Massa added: "Fernando is in front so the chance to win here is quite big but everything is still possible in the championship."

FIVE-WAY BATTLE EXPLAINED
1 ALONSO 231pts
2 WEBBER 220pts
3 HAMILTON 210pts
4 VETTEL 206pts
5 BUTTON 189pts
If Alonso wins in Brazil, he will be champion unless Webber is higher than fifth
If Alonso is second, he will be champion unless Webber is higher than eighth, Hamilton higher than fourth or Vettel wins
If Alonso is third, he will be champion unless Webber finishes in the top 10, Hamilton in the top four and Vettel in the top three
If Alonso does not finish on the podium, it will go to Abu Dhabi
Button can only stay in contention if he finishes first or second but is out if Alonso finishes in the top six or if Webber is in the top two
Vettel must beat Alonso on track to stay in contention

Some F1 insiders are saying that if Alonso wins the title by a small margin his achievement will be tainted by the team orders controversy that rocked the sport in the summer.

Ferrari were fined $100,000 [£65,000] for using banned teams orders at Hockenheim after the team appeared to give Massa a coded message to allow Alonso through to win.

In 2007, Massa ceded his lead in Brazil to then Ferrari team-mate in Kimi Raikkonen by being called in to pit earlier. That decision saw Raikkonen take victory and the championship by a single point from Hamilton.

When asked if he would give way to Alonso if he was leading Sunday's race, Massa said: "I did already no? 2007, you don't remember?"

He added: "It depends, I'm a professional driver. I'm thinking about starting in the best position and finishing in the best position as well."

Alonso said he would welcome a win by Massa at Interlagos as it would take points away from his rivals.

"Felipe is normally very strong here," said Alonso.

"The best thing for him and even for me is to have Felipe win the race because it takes 25 points from everyone else.

ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG

"That is the biggest difference in points between positions - the difference between second and third and third and fourth is quite small.

"The worry for me is for another contender to take 25 points, so hopefully Felipe can win both races to help me. A win from him would be very welcome."

Alonso said he would be approaching this race in exactly the same way as he had the last few - he has won three of the last four races and four of the last seven.

"Our approach doesn't change," Alonso said. "OK, we are some points in front, but we saw an example in Korea of how things can quickly change with a retirement.

"Consistency is the priority, being on the podium is our goal in every race and then we will see in Abu Dhabi. Our job is to take the maximum potential from the car and also hopefully be lucky because luck is important in the championship.

Fernando Alonso

Consistency is the priority - Alonso

"We know Red Bull is fast at every circuit. They have been very dominant. They have been strong in all the qualifying sessions.

"We expect them to be competitive here and I'm sure McLaren will be too. So if you have a bad weekend, you can be fifth or sixth easily.

"We respect a lot the competition but I feel relaxed."

Sao Paulo-born Massa has a good record at his hometown circuit, winning twice from pole here, and he is confident of a strong performance again this weekend.

"I expect to win the race as well and I will do my best to win for the people," said Massa.

"Even after the race in Germany, when I arrived in Brazil people were very nice with me; they were fantastic and pushing me forward.

"The real people are great - the journalists are much more difficult."

Practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix begins at 1200 GMT on Friday.



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see also
Button may play supporting role
03 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton happy to chase for title
02 Nov 10 |  Formula 1
I am not a number two, says Massa
29 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari boss slams F1 'hypocrisy'
26 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Jordan wants orders rule scrapped
26 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso secures controversial win
26 Jul 10 |  Formula 1


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