Massa backs Barrichello to overhaul Button

Jenson Button needs to cope better with the pressure of leading the standings if the Briton wants to secure a first Formula One title, last year's runner-up Felipe Massa has told a British newspaper.

The Ferrari driver, recovering from life-threatening head injuries suffered in Hungary in July, told the Guardian in an interview published today that he was backing Button's Brawn team mate and Brazilian compatriot Rubens Barrichello.



Barrichello, a friend of Massa, is 16 points adrift of Button with five races remaining, but the championship leader has taken only 11 points in his last five races after winning six of the first seven.



Massa pointed out that he had been six points behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton going into the final race last year and still almost won the title.



"That was one race, Rubens has five races to close 16 points. It's a big possibility but it depends on Jenson. If Jenson carries on in this bad way it will help Rubens a lot," he said.



"In my opinion, Jenson has gone down because of the pressure. It's the only reason.



"In the earlier races, he was almost half a second (a lap) quicker than some teams. You win the race easy and there is not so much pressure. But now we have races where things are more difficult," Massa said.



"So for me the pressure has had a big impact on his mind - and he needs to deal with it better. If he does not cope with the pressure he will not win the championship."



Massa, interviewed in his Sao Paulo apartment before undergoing cosmetic surgery on Monday, is not due to return until next season. He said he felt his accident happened for a reason and would make him stronger.



"Everything in life has a meaning. If something bad happens it's because you need to learn, to grow," he said.



"My life was once very difficult. When you think of the position I used to be in and what I had to do to arrive where I am now in my professional career. It was very difficult to reach this point.



"I had many races in the various categories where I knew if I did not win then I would not get to race in the next race because I did not have the money. So a lot happened that helped me become stronger," he added.



"I think there is a reason for this accident. At the moment I don't quite know what it is."



Massa said he was fortunate not to have been blinded or killed by the bouncing spring shed by Barrichello's car in qualifying at the Hungaroring and added that he would discuss possible ways of improving safety when he returned.



"For me, the worst thing that happened was not being able to race," he said. "If you can't drive that's terrible.



"My wife has already asked me, at least 10 times, 'Are you sure you don't feel any doubts or worries?' Always, I say, 'No - because this is what I like to do.' If I don't drive then I am not the same person."



News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing