Hometown Massa would be happy just making podium in Brazil
SAO PAULO (AP) Regardless of his two previous victories at the Brazilian Grand Prix and predictions that his Williams car will be competitive on Sunday at Interlagos, veteran Brazilian driver Felipe Massa is aiming a bit lower.
He'd be happy just to make the podium.
Any finish in the top three would fine. Winning seems out of reach.
''Our fans have their feet on the ground,'' he said at Interlagos. ''There is no use in coming here and saying that I will win the race. It's a good track for Williams and for me. I expect to be competitive like last year. We have to think of going to the podium.''
Massa is sixth in the season drivers' standings with 117 points, a whopping 228 behind season champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
Massa won at home in 2006 and in 2008, both times with Ferrari.
The other Brazilian on the grid is Sauber's 23-year-old Felipe Nasr, 13th in the drivers' championship with 27 points.
Massa's last victory at Interlagos was bittersweet. Despite winning the final race of the 2008 season, he lost the season title by just one point to Britain's Lewis Hamilton.
''This is where I was born,'' Massa said. ''I remember going to the grandstand as a kid and shouting every time that a local driver passed. My memories here are great.''
Asked whether Brazilians will be less and less interested in Formula One if they don't have a winning driver soon, Massa pointed to Mexico, a country that two weeks ago held its first GP since 1992.
''They welcomed Formula One regardless of the little chances of their home driver winning the race (Force India's Sergio Perez),'' Massa aid. ''Formula One has to be treated as one of the most important sports.''
Mercedes leads the constructors' championship with 617 points, followed by Ferrari (374) and Williams (243).
Massa said that Williams ''will have to improve three times more'' to catch Mercedes and Ferrari in 2016. But he didn't rule it out.
''For the size of the team, I think we're doing a great job compared to the big teams,'' he said. ''We just need a little bit more money to put in the car and I'm sure we're going to make the lives of these guys even more difficult.''