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GP Week : Issue 170
31 GPWEEK.com // 31 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SUZUKA Felipe Massa believes second place in the Japanese Grand Prix will have boosted his chances of staying with Scuderia Ferrari in 2013. The Brazilian’s future with the Maranello-based Ferrari team has been under the spotlight for some time now. He has been consistently outperformed by team-mate Fernando Alonso in 2012, which is evident by the drivers’ respective positions in the championship standings – Alonso is positioned at the top of the table, albeit with a significantly diminished lead, while Massa has made slow progress up the order and currently sits in ninth. However, Massa made amends for a disappointing qualifying performance to take 18 points for second place away from Japan. Starting from 10th, the Brazilian ran a long first stint on fresh Option tyres to leapfrog both Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi and McLaren’s Jenson Button. Team-mate Alonso, meanwhile, could only spectate after being caught up in the first-corner melee. Massa said: “It was a fantastic race! Being back on the podium after almost two years is just great and I feel really uplifted. They have been two tough years for me and a million things go through your mind. “But finally I can be happy! It’s an important result psychologically and also in terms of my future... at least I think so! “It’s even better getting back on the podium at a track I like so much and that I’ve known since the start of my career,” added Massa. “Sometimes, in the hardest moments the best things come. This race motivates me even more for the rest of the season. Ferrari team principal, Stefano Domenicali, praised Massa for an “impeccable” result, but remains tight- lipped about whether or not he will be wearing scarlet next season. “What a splendid race Felipe had,” said Domenicali. “He produced a truly impeccable performance. It was nice to see him back on the podium after such a long time! “This second place is a very important result for him and for the team and it comes at one of the most difficult and delicate moments of the season. He added: “Decisions regarding his future? We’ll take it one step at a time, as we are now enjoying this lovely podium together.” PODIUM LIFTS MASSA’S SPIRITS