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F1 NEWS 

Felipe Massa 'very nearly back to his best' says engineer

Felipe Massa and Rob SmedleyFerrari's Felipe Massa is a totally different driver now to how he was at the start of the season, and needs just a tiny improvement to be fighting right back at the front of the Formula 1 grid.

That is the view of Massa's race engineer Rob Smedley, who thinks Massa's results in recent races do not do justice to the progress he has made since a difficult beginning to the campaign.

"Right now, going into Silverstone, there is very little that Felipe is lacking for him to be back where he was in terms of driving and confidence in the car," Smedley told the official Ferrari website.

"You need things to go your way and at the last race we didn't have that. Going back to Canada, he made a little mistake at the start, which changed everything and in Monaco he was stuck in a train of traffic for 70 laps.

"However, in terms of his pace in those recent races and the way he was driving and his confidence, he is a different driver to the way he was at the start of the season. So, we are missing very little, maybe a tiny one per cent to make it all start happening for us."

Smedley believes the high-speed characteristics of Silverstone, which put a premium on aerodynamics, should suit the Ferrari F2012 well.

"I think our chances are good at Silverstone this weekend, even if it's no secret we still need to develop and have a quicker car," he said. "In Valencia we didn't have the quickest car, but compared to the start of the year, we had a much improved car, which is down to a great job from the whole team.

"However, our car has always been particularly suited to high speed corners and Silverstone is dominated by high speed turns for almost two thirds of the track. I hope therefore that we can go and make the most of it; not only all the recent development work we have done on the F2012, but also the fact that our car is fundamentally good in high speed corners. That is why I feel we are in with a very good chance this weekend."

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