Felipe Massa admits that he was surprised by the margin of Red Bull's superiority over Ferrari after Friday practice ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Massa ended the session fifth overall, just over one second slower than pace-setter Sebastian Vettel. Teammate Fernando Alonso was fourth, but still almost nine tenths off the pace at a track where Red Bull was widely expected to be the team to beat.
"Maybe it was a little more than expected," said Massa when asked whether Red Bull's margin at the top of the times was as he anticipated. "Red Bull was very quick, but many things can happen, especially with the weather forecast for rain on Saturday. Then, maybe the race will be dry, so we need to be ready for anything even if Red Bull was quicker than expected. Things can change."
Massa believes that, in dry conditions, it might be more realistic for Ferrari to set beating McLaren pairing Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton as its target for the weekend.
"Maybe," he said of the prospect of racing for best of the rest rather than victory. "Looking at the difference in the lap times now, it's easier to say that. There is a little bit more to come from the car, but not a huge amount."