Massa: Ferrari struggling under pressure of chasing Mercedes

As defending champions, Felipe Massa believes Mercedes have felt less pressure than struggling rivals Ferrari this year.

Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.   -  Getty Images

Ferrari's struggles in Formula One have been exacerbated by the pressure on the team to win, according to former driver Felipe Massa.

The Italian outfit and star driver Sebastian Vettel are trailing behind Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton in the championship this season, having again endured a tough second half of the year.

Massa departed Ferrari in 2013 and he is familiar with how the pressure can affect the team, believing those difficulties to have stretched back 10 years.

"We won the championship in 2007 and then, after 2008, Ferrari started to have some issues – they never won again," Massa told

"Maybe when I left Ferrari, in 2013, the feeling was similar to what they have now. [There is] pressure to win and they are struggling to keep the pressure down. They are struggling to do their job in an efficient way.

"I think this year - although I am not saying they have lost the championship yet - maybe they lost the battle at the end because of some mistakes, maybe because they are feeling the pressure in a higher way compared to Mercedes, who have a lot less pressure.

"Mercedes won the last four years. It makes it much easier to work with a title in your hands, compared to working where you need to win, where the chance to make mistakes is higher."

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