An hour or so after the finish of this year's Malaysian Grand Prix, a small handful of journalists gathered in Ferrari's hospitality unit to hear from Felipe Massa. Fernando Alonso had just taken a shock victory in the lead Ferrari, so few were interested in what that day's 15th place finisher had to say about life.
He had failed to score for the second race in succession. Coming off the back of a poor 2011 campaign, questions were justifiably being asked about his suitability for a Ferrari seat. Granted, as Massa himself has pointed out, he'd been the subject of such questions for a sizeable proportion of his career with the team, but this was different. Never before had he struggled so much for so long.
The driver who sat in that room after one of the least spectacular performances of his grand prix career wasn't the same one who impressed so much during 2007 and 2008. He came within seconds of the title in the second of those campaigns and it's often forgotten that, although some misfortune in the second half of the season put him out of contention, Massa was also a credible contender for much of the first.
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