The elephant in the Ferrari motorhome has been silenced, for now at least, after Felipe Massa’s solid sixth-placed finish at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The event represented, by far and away, the most competitive showing of the Brazilian’s wretched 2012 season, amid speculation that he could find himself dumped by Ferrari before the year was out.
The Italian team was not shy about turning up the wick on its expectations of the diminutive Brazilian, with team boss Stefano Domenicali insisting that Massa kickstarts his 2012 season with a strong performance at Monaco.
After showing excellent pace in all of the practice sessions, Massa qualified comfortably inside the top ten and raced hard to finish in sixth place, at the back of the train of cars jostling for the lead with race-winner Mark Webber.
“I think that he did a great weekend. It was the weekend that he deserved, after a lot of weeks of big pressures,” Domenicali said after the race, which saw Fernando Alonso finish third and assume the lead of the Drivers’ Championship standings.
“I am sure this will be the turning point of his season. It was a great boost for him to perform in a difficult moment. It is something we need for the Constructors’ Championship, so I am expecting a good Felipe up until the end [of the year].
“He did a great race and he was a bit unlucky because he could have got out in front of Lewis for a fraction. But he was there in the first six cars that were very close, so that is for me the best point.”
So is this enough to stave off the rumours that his seat is in jeopardy, or was his performance a flash in the pan? We may have to wait and see…