Felipe Massa is confident he was quick enough to beat his Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso in the United States Grand Prix.
The Brazilian had to drop to 11th on the grid when Ferrari broke a gearbox seal on his car so that Massa would pick up a five-place penalty. The aim was to elevate Alonso a position and put him on the clean side of the grid.
Alonso came through from seventh on the grid to finish third, meaning he only lost three points to title rival Sebastian Vettel, while Massa showed strong race pace to recover to fourth.
Massa admitted he had reluctantly accepted the penalty tactic, and said to go along with it showed his value to Ferrari, which had deliberated for many months before extending his contract into 2013.
"For sure I was not happy this morning," said Massa. "It's impossible to see a driver happy with giving away five positions just to help your teammate or your team, but we know how important that is.
"Maybe it's not easy to find another driver who will do that. I think that's the most honest direction to take. For sure I was able to be in front of Fernando in this race, but I did a very good help."
He reckons the race performance answered both his and Ferrari's critics.
"I think the best thing you can do for the people at home who like to talk, talk, talk about nothing is this result," Massa said. "What we did today was fantastic. I was not happy at the beginning but I'm happy now. God knows what to do and we just have to trust and do the best we can."
Massa is sure the Austin event was the best he has driven all season.
"I think it was maybe my best race of the year," he said. "For me it was like a victory. Starting 11th, I expected to gain more positions at the start - I gained just one. But after that I was just trying to pass people, and that's what I did. I had incredible pace during the whole weekend."