Felipe Massa believes he is on the brink of ending his long Formula 1 win drought given Ferrari's 2013 form and his improved mindset.
Massa has not won a race since the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, has been overshadowed by teammate Fernando Alonso through their three years together and came close to losing his Ferrari seat last summer. But he rebounded and started 2013 strongly, outqualifying Alonso at both the first two races and moving ahead of his teammate in the points for the first time in three years with his fifth place in Malaysia, where Alonso crashed out.
Asked if he felt closer than ever to getting back on the top step of the podium, Massa replied: "Yes, for sure. We need to be confident [to win], and I am very confident."
He said Ferrari needed to make further improvements, but he was now optimistic that he could make the most of the car if it was title worthy.
"I don't think we had the car to win [in Malaysia], but I think we have a competitive car for fighting for the podium," said Massa. "We need to keep our feet on the ground as well. We did great work on the car from last year to this year, but there's a lot to do to get the evolution right and make it more competitive.
"I think if we carry on in this direction, the chance for winning races and fighting for the championship is there."
Massa feels his Malaysian GP result was skewed by heavy tire graining in the first stint. Having started on the front row, he spent a while near the foot of the top 10 before recovering to fifth.
"The pace was good. For sure without the problem at the start of the race, the race could have been quite different," he said. "The chance to fight for the podium would have been much higher. It is important to take points home, and fifth, looking at the first stint, was not so bad."