Massa eyes podium finish in China

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Felipe Massa says Williams is targeting a strong result at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, with the Brazilian hoping to challenge for a podium in round three of this year’s Formula One championship.

Having made a tremendous start in Bahrain last time out, Massa ran as high as second and remained in contention for a top-three finish until Williams’ conservative tyre strategy pushed the Brazilian down to eighth.

Massa has taken part in all previous editions of the Chinese Grand Prix since 2004, claiming back-to-back podiums in 2007 and 2008 with Ferrari.

“I think Shanghai is a nice track and it’s always fantastic to go back to China,” Massa said. “I have a lot of fans there, and I always enjoy going to see them. We get people waiting outside the hotel all day, so it’s really amazing to be with them. I’m really looking forward to that.

“The fans always have a lot of gifts for me and my family, which is amazing. I’ve had good races there, including last year when I finished fifth. I look forward to another good race, and maybe even finishing on the podium.”

After saying that Williams needed to unlock more pace, Massa’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas hopes the characteristics of the Shanghai venue, most notably its immense back straight, will play to the strengths of his Mercedes-powered FW38.

“China is a good track to drive,” the Finn said. “It has a massive long straight, which boosts overtaking. It has some high-speed corners, which I very much like, and our car is not bad in those kind of conditions either.

“The weather can normally play a part in the China race weekend. It’s still the beginning of the year, and we are still looking to see improvements in our performance all the time.”

Bottas’ best result to date in China is the sixth-place finish he secured last year.

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