N after the training at Spa, Felipe Massa was deadly unhappy. 14th on the grid, 0.549 seconds behind Fernando Alonso, who started the race from fifth position. Massa knew. That's too much if he wants to extend his regular position at Ferrari by a year. Ferrari is looking for a number 1B, not a number two. The Brazilian can't lose more than three tenths of a second to his team captain.
There were reasons for the big gap. Ferrari trimmed its cars to minimal downforce with a view to the race. The F2012 were difficult to drive, especially on the 'medium' tire type. Alonso can handle it. Not Massa.
Massa can no longer afford to make mistakes
For Felipe Massa, all Grand Prix races are now fateful races. Any slip could cost him the 2013 job. Ferrari needs every point in the constructors' championship. The Reds are currently only in fourth place. 19 points behind McLaren and eight points behind Lotus.
Of Ferrari's 199 points, Massa contributed 35. That's just 17.5 percent. Ferrari expects at least double the quota from its second driver. Massa's role will be particularly important if Fernando Alonso fails to deliver points like in Spa.
Massa made the best of his bad starting position in the end. He finished fifth. Unfortunately behind his fiercest competitor for the second Ferrari cockpit. Nico Hulkenberg beat the Brazilian in the battle for fourth place by 2,002 seconds. That certainly didn’t worsen the German’s chances. But it didn't shut all the doors to Massa either. Rumor has it that the Brazilian can stay, but only if he achieves certain performances in the next few races.
Ferrari satisfied with Massa
Ferrari race director Stefano Domenicali was satisfied with Massa's performance: 'Felipe drove a great race. We are happy with him because he went to this one Time of the season needs good results. ' That was almost a confirmation of the speculation. Massa said cautiously: 'I don't know if this race will change anything in my future, but I'm very satisfied.'
There were also points of criticism. Massa lost too much time with the first set of tires. After eight laps the 'medium' tires collapsed. It wasn't until Ferrari put on the harder mixture that Massa got going. At times he was even the fastest man in the field. The 2008 vice world champion passedBruno Senna and Mark Webber on the track. Important from Alonso's point of view. Webber is one of his opponents in the title race.
Massa cheaper than Hülkenberg
But in the rear of Nico Hülkenberg's Force India was the end of the line for Ferrari's number two. Luca di Montezemolo will have seen it at home in front of the television in Maranello. You know what makes the president tick: a Ferrari behind a Force India, that can't be.
Hülkenberg is on the Red's radar, but it is not that easy to get to the long Rhinelander. If Force India insists on Hulkenberg, Ferrari has to open the treasury and pay a transfer fee to the racing team from Silverstone. Massa is free.
The Brazilian would certainly agree to any salary cut. He has no practical alternatives. There is enough time on both sides. Force India wouldn't mind continuing with its two drivers. And if there is compensation for Hulkenberg at the last minute, then there are still enough good options on the market. Adrian Sutil would be one of them.