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Ferrari driver Massa stops on course, cutting practice short

Ferrari driver Massa stops on course, cutting practice short

Felipe Massa's day of practice for the Canadian Grand Prix ended early and quietly on Friday.
The Ferrari driver, fastest in the morning practice, was among the leaders and getting quicker late in the afternoon session on the 12-turn road course when his car suddenly slowed midway through a lap and parked on the grass at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
"My car seemed to suffer some sort of blackout," Massa said. "Gradually, all the systems shut down and I had to stop at the side of the track. Of course, that's not good, but it's better to have a problem in free practice than in qualifying or, worse still, in the race."
Massa, disqualified in last year's Canadian GP after officials said he ran a red light on pit lane, was still fifth fastest on the opening day of practice for Sunday's race. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen was third, trailing only defending race winner Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes McLaren and the BMW Sauber of Robert Kubica.
Luca Baldisserri, Ferrari's team manager, said Massa's mysterious shutdown on Friday should pose no problems for the rest of the weekend.
"A shame about the technical problem on Felipe's car, the cause of which we still need to understand," Baldisserri said. "It prevented him from completing all the work we had scheduled for these three hours of free practice. But, in any case, we have enough information to be as well prepared as possible for qualifying and the race.
"It's too early to say where we are in the pecking order, but we will definitely be competitive."
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NO PROBLEM: Robert Kubica said last week he had no fears about returning to the track where he was lucky to escape injury in a frightening crash a year ago.
On Friday, the Polish driver proved it, turning the third fastest lap on the opening day of practice.
Last year, the BMW Sauber driver was racing with the Toyota of Jarno Trulli and Massa's Ferrari when they collided, sheering off Kubica's front wing. He veered off course into the grass as the three cars sped toward the hairpin turn.
Kubica's car slammed into the inside concrete wall, then somersaulted across the track in a shower of debris. He then hit the outside wall and came to rest with what was left of the car on its side.
The accident prompted race officials to make changes, moving the wall closer to the track to ensure a smaller angle of impact. They also added debris fending to the area in front of the wall.
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STRUGGLING ON: Sebastien Bourdais, winner of the last four championships in the now-defunct Champ Car World Series, is having a pretty forgettable rookie year in Formula One.
The Frenchman's only points-paying finish came in the season-opener in Australia, where he finished seventh. Since then, the best finish for the Scuderia Toro Rosso driver has been 15th in Bahrain.
On Friday, he was 16th in the faster afternoon practice, while teammate Sebastian Vettel, who has also struggled this season, was a very promising ninth.
"I had a difficult day, starting with the set-up that was very different from Seb's, and I didn't like the car at all," Bourdais said. "That meant we lost pretty much all of the morning session as we only began to get to grips with the problem in the afternoon."
He said things improved in the afternoon.
"But there is still some work to do tomorrow morning (in practice)," Bourdais added. "I had raced here before, but not in F1 and, in some ways, that might have been a distraction as the reference points I had from Champ Car were completely wrong. I was used to being able to attack the curbs, and you can't do that with this low downforce configuration.
"Plus, the braking points are different and the entry speed into the corners is much higher. I have to forget about the past. It did not help."


Updated : 2021-05-11 13:20 GMT+08:00