Felipe Massa has been under more pressure than perhaps any other driver in Formula One this season. The Brazilian driver has not won a race since 2008 and has not stood on the podium since 2010. Prior to Monaco, Massa had scored only two points this season, while team mate Fernando Alonso was joint championship leader on 61 points. Massa had a point to prove.
And prove it he did. He didn’t win, stand on the podium, start on pole or even finish ahead of Alonso, but Massa put together a weekend that was more worthy of a Ferrari drive than anything we’ve seen from him all season.
He qualified seventh, just a tenth of a second behind Alonso, to set himself up for a strong race day. And in the race, Massa showed he has the pace to compete at the front of the field. He put Alonso under pressure in the early phase of the race, and after Alonso passed Hamilton in the pitstops, Massa pressured the McLaren driver to the finish.
At the end of the race, Massa was sixth, just 6.195 seconds behind the victorious Mark Webber and over 35 seconds clear of seventh placed Paul di Resta. And there was nothing fortunate about his result. He was on the pace from the start, and harrying those in front of him throughout the race.
Is the competitive Felipe Massa back? It’s difficult to judge from Monaco, due to the unique nature of the twisty street circuit. The Canadian Grand Prix in just under two weeks’ time will be a better indication of his form. Hopefully for Massa, Ferrari and Formula One, the progress will continue.