Massa: I really hope I can always be in the fight for the top places

Felipe Massa redeemed himself with a good showing at Monaco

Felipe Massa has redeemed himself - for now, with a good showing at Monaco

May 28 (Reuters) Ferrari and Felipe Massa hoped the treacherous streets of Monaco had marked a turning point for the under-fire Brazilian on Sunday, with eight points in the bag for sixth place at the Principality.

Felipe Massa in the Ferrari pit garage at MonacoMassa finally got his Formula One season into gear, as the haul was four times the meagre tally from five previous races. Just as importantly, he was able to match the leaders’ pace and finished the 78 laps just 6.195 seconds behind Red Bull’s race winner Mark Webber.

“I think he did a great weekend. It was the weekend he deserved after a lot of big pressures,” team principal Stefano Domenicali told reporters. “I think he did a great qualifying, you always can say he could have been a little bit better in Q3 (the third phase) but we need to look for a wider picture, from a wider angle. He did a great race.”

“He was there in the first six cars which were very close. He was there, so that’s for me the best thing and I’m sure that this will be a turning of his season because he needs that,” added the Italian.

Massa had drawn a blank in four of the five previous races, with a ninth in Bahrain all he had to show for his efforts behind the wheel.

Feliep Massa with Ferrari race engineer Rob SmedleyThe Formula One rumour mill has gone into overdrive about his future, with open speculation about who might replace him next season and some suggesting that Monaco might even be his swansong.

Ferrari had piled the pressure on, calling for a change of gear and highlighting on their website the disparity in points between him and championship leading team mate Fernando Alonso, who now has 76 compared to Massa’s 10.

“It was a great boost for him because at the end of the day everyone is unhappy when he is performing in a difficult moment,” said Domenicali. “It’s something that we need for the constructors championship. I am expecting really a good Felipe up to the end [of the season].”

Massa agreed with his boss, “I really hope my championship has turned around and that from now on I can always be in the fight for the top places, as was the case here.”

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