Felipe Massa is driving with more freedom since swapping the Ferrari Formula 1 team for Williams, according to his former race engineer Rob Smedley.
Massa ended his decade-long stint at Scuderia to join Williams at the end of last season, having spent the past four campaigns driving as a clear number two to double F1 world champion Fernando Alonso.
The Brazilian has already shown reluctance to obey team orders at his new squad, holding up new team-mate Valtteri Bottas in March's Malaysian Grand Prix and leading Williams to apologise to its drivers and fans.
Smedley, who engineered for Massa at Ferrari before recently swapping Maranello for Grove to become Williams's head of vehicle performance, said his old charge is a far more relaxed driver in his new environment, and capable of emerging as a team leader.
"I know Felipe Massa very well - I know him inside out. He's a very, very good driver and he's been given the freedom of head-space here to do what he's paid to do, and he's delivering," said Smedley.
"I see Felipe now very relaxed, incredibly experienced, there's a maturity about him and he carries that very well.
"He understands that the job he has to do here is not just about driving the car, it's about driving the people as well.
"He knows how to do that. He's had some very good teachers in that area - I would cite Michael Schumacher as one - and now his time has come.
"He's picked up the baton very well."