Felipe Massa has endured a lot of criticism in the last 18 months. And perhaps deservedly so. His performance in 2011 fell far short of what was required, and the first few races of 2012 were much the same. But he may be coming right.
Monaco was Massa’s first competitive race of 2012. After qualifying seventh, he finished a strong sixth, very much on the pace of the leaders. But that was just one race and it was at Monaco, the most unusual of all tracks on the calendar.
In Canada, Massa’s newfound form continued with sixth in qualifying. In the race, he was immediately quick, passing Nico Rosberg soon after a good start. His early progress was ended by a spin in the first corner of lap six – his own mistake. Unfortunately, the spin damaged his tyres, which caused Ferrari to change his strategy and ultimately ended his challenge for good points. He finished tenth.
Massa’s spin in Canada is a good sign. It shows that he is pushing hard. He is not tentative, not cautious, not lacking confidence. Rather, he is going for it aggressively on the track, giving everything he has in the pursuit of results. That attitude is far more significant than his fairly mediocre finishing position.
Confidence and commitment are everything in racing. Massa seems to be re-discovering his comfort zone, and it shows on the track. If this trend continues, Massa should move steadily up the grid throughout the season. Ferrari could certainly use him alongside Alonso at the front of the field.