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."



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York