Felipe Massa’s performance at the Italian Grand Prix Sunday was a welcome return to form and fans of the Brazilian no doubt are happy, if not hopeful, that the veteran driver might stay at Ferrari in 2013 or at least have another ride in the series. For Massa’s part, he drove a terrific pace and this while being hampered with no telemetry from his car to the race engineers. In Formula One, real-time telemetry is essential for teams to understand where their car is on track and how to execute their strategy as well as monitor teh car’s components, speed and myriad factors involved with the chassis.
You have to admit that Massa drove a great race despite running in the dark so to speak. He also yielded his podium position to Fernando Alonso which, as we came to see, would have been no podium at all given the pace of Sauber’s Sergio Perez if Fernando had stayed behind Massa. So in all, Felipe’s weekend was one of performance, adaptation over electronic difficulties but not without one element that challenged his race pace…tire degradation:
“They couldn’t see me on the track from start to finish but everything they were telling me I was doing on the steering wheel and I don’t think it was a big problem. The biggest problem was the tyres.
“I expected better degradation, but I think it was a good result for us, third and fourth, for the team it was a good result.”
In a race where tire degradation played a smaller role, it is odd that Massa should struggle as much as he did. Given his comments, his performance is all the more impressive. However, Massa knows he’s there to help Fernando any way he can in defending his world championship points lead:
“For sure my personal race was very important, but being in a position to help Fernando as well who is in a position to fight for the Championship we know is very important for the team,” he added.
So what do you think of Massa’s performance? Enough to keep the Brazilian behind the wheel for another season or are we praising a driver for doing what he should have been doing from the very start of the year? Is it too little, too late?