Felipe Massa has admitted that he could have qualified higher in Abu Dhabi had he realized he had made it past the checkered flag in time for a final flying lap in Q3. The Ferrari driver only just made it before the clock hit zero, but thought he had been too late so took it relatively easy at the start of his next lap before realising.
"I reached the exit of the final corner, I saw the red light and, instinctively, I thought I had not got there in time to do the flying lap," Massa explained. "In fact, I had made it, but I did not push immediately as hard as I could have done, so I came back to the pits when I realized I would not have improved my time.
"It's a real shame because I could definitely have done better and therefore started further up the grid."
He still managed to qualify sixth, and is confident he can get among the title contenders and help team-mate Fernando Alonso in the race.
"Tomorrow, I am expecting a very hard fought battle between three teams -- us, McLaren and Red Bull -- who are all very much on the pace," said Massa. "I will try to make up some places at the start and then to do the maximum for the team. However, in terms of performance, I think the situation is better than we could have expected."