Felipe Massa has conceded Ferrari's championship chances are over after Jenson Button scored his fourth win in five races at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Button has 41 points out of a possible 45 so far this year, and the Briton and his Brawn team dominated the Spanish race on Sunday.
Massa scored his first points of the year at Barcelona and is already 38 behind Button. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen is tied with Massa on three points. The Brazilian reckons his chances of fighting for the title are over.
"In the championship? No, I don't think so," Massa told reporters when asked if he could catch Button. "We need to be realistic. After five races they won four. Even if we improve massively and we are three or four tenths if front of them they will still score points. So forget it."
Massa was nonetheless encouraged by his team's step forward since the last race, but he admits Ferrari is still behind Brawn.
"In Q2 we were two tenths slower. In qualifying, in Q3 we were four tenths slower because of the fuel. Usually the picture is similar in the race," he said. "Two tenths in the race is quite a big difference. Most of the time they were going slowly away. So that's the real picture at the moment. Maybe we are still a couple of tenths behind.
"Red Bull I don't know because I was always in front of Vettel, so I don't know if I was holding him a lot or he was really similar.
"We still need to improve, but I think if you compare the car we had in this race and the car we had before it's a big stop forward. That's really, really encouraging."
The Ferrari driver looked set for fourth today but was forced to slow down in order to save fuel, in the end dropping to sixth.
Massa said the problem had been with the refueling and not with the calculations.
"We didn't have a problem with the calculations. We had a problem with the machine. But I don't know if the problem was human or the machine. We need to analyze what was the problem. It was very frustrating.
"You fight the whole race and then you have to back off. I was already saving fuel in the last run, but it was not enough, so I had to really back off and let Vettel go. I lost a position to Fernando and almost to Nick, so it was quite frustrating."