Felipe Massa has leapt to teammate Kimi Raikkonen’s defence amid the latest reports of the Finn’s alcohol-fuelled off-track exploits.
Finn Raikkonen, 27, is a regular in the tabloid newspapers and gossip magazines, but Massa suggested that such reports should be taken with a pinch of salt.
“In a world like ours, where there are famous people, the media can often exaggerate or even make things up,” Ferrari driver Massa, 25, told the Rio de Janeiro-based newspaper O Globo.
Massa said Raikkonen is an “excellent” driver but some observers expect him to give the so-called ‘iceman’ a run for his money at the Italian team in 2007.
“He has already proved that he is one of the best drivers in formula one,” Felipe said.
“He will be fast and fight for victories, but I hope to be in front of him more often than he is in front of me.”
Massa is approaching the new season with caution, despite the widespread belief in F1 circles that Ferrari’s F2007 is the quickest car.
“I don’t mind hearing that people count me as a contender,” he said, “but that is not what I have to think about.
“What people say is not going to change my mindset.
“Importantly the car is good and fast and possibly has a small advantage on the others, but I am not going to say that we are the favourite.”