Formula 1 - Massa mystified by loss of pace

Felipe Massa admits he does not fully understand his loss of pace mid-way through the Chinese Grand Prix.

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The Brazilian had shadowed team-mate Fernando Alonso, who went on to claim an assured victory, in the early, soft-rubber stages of the race.

Once the field had switched onto mediums however Massa faded from the lead battle, eventually coming home sixth behind the two-stopping McLaren of Jenson Button.

Massa said he is still struggling for answers to explain his eventual 40-second deficit to Alonso.

"It's difficult to understand exactly what happened today, because the start went very well," Massa said.

"I was immediately quick and the car was working perfectly.

"At the first stop, I fitted the medium tyres and after a few laps I began to suffer with graining on the front.

"That meant I lost ground to other cars and it was probably down to a problem linked to the track conditions and my driving style.

"All weekend, I haven't felt comfortable with these tyres and in the race, any attempts I made to save them was useless."

Massa believes he would have been in the podium hunt were it not for his pace on the medium tyres.

"But for this problem, I would certainly have been in the fight for the podium," he added.

"But I am still confident because, all the same, I was able to bring home a good points haul which is important in a season that has only just begun."

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