Massive tire degradation denied Felipe Massa a podium in front of Ferrari's tifosi at Monza, according to the under-fire Brazilian after the Italian Grand Prix. The 31-year-old, who is fighting for his drive at Ferrari, enjoyed perhaps his most competitive race of the season.
Massa ran second until the pit stops despite losing all his car's telemetry, and then climbed back to second once he had changed to the hard tires, before allowing teammate Fernando Alonso through.
But then he began to suffer serious degradation and was defenseless when Sergio Perez blasted by on his way to second place, leaving Massa an eventual fourth. That equaled his best result of 2012, achieved at Silverstone.
"It was unfortunate," explained Massa. "Today we were completely in a difficult situation with the degradation. I think, putting that on the table, it was a good result for the team."
Referring to the telemetry, Massa added: "They lost us completely from the beginning of the race to the end, so they couldn't see us on the track. But everything they were telling me I was doing on the steering wheel. And I don't think it was a big problem, the big problem was the tires. The degradation was really massive on our cars.
"I expected better degradation so that was the biggest thing that happened today. Anyway it was a good result for us, third and fourth for the team was a good result."
Massa admitted that his performance, and the result, which helped Ferrari climb to within 50 points of constructors' championship leader Red Bull, was a huge boost to his aspirations to stay with Ferrari for an eighth season in 2013.
"For sure my own personal race was very important, but also helping Fernando as well to be in the condition to fight for the championship, which we know is very important for the team. I think both came together during the race."