Felipe Massa claims that being stronger mentally after the August break was key to him getting a new Ferrari contract for 2013.
The Brazilian admitted that the first part of his 2012 campaign wasn't good and that he used the one-month F1 hiatus to adopt a fresh approach. Since the break, he has been the second-highest points scorer in F1, claiming his first podium since the 2010 Korean Grand Prix at Suzuka.
"August was good for me just to think about things and say, 'If I stay here, OK. If not, it doesn't matter so I just need to drive the car and enjoy having fun," said Massa. "That was very positive for me. I'm very happy now and very strong.
"I didn't have a very good season, especially the first part. Even in races where I was quite strong and had good pace, always something negative happen that didn't put me in the condition to fight for the position that I was supposed to finish. I was not very happy mentally and when you are not happy, [bad] things always happen one after the other."
Massa believes that his different attitude allowed him to be more relaxed in his approach. This made it easier for him to string together a consistently high performance level and avoid the small problems that had compromised his results earlier in the season. He expects this to stand him in good stead for 2013 as well as the title run-in.
"When you are relaxed and you can put everything together, even little details help for the performance in the way you work, the way you concentrate and the way you think," said Massa. "I am very strong mentally and that definitely helps the result.
"This is a good direction now to keep improving, getting stronger and stronger all the time for these four races, but also for next year as well."