If it was good news indeed that Felipe Massa
survived the horrifying high-speed accident that threatened to leave him blinded during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, then it seems cruel fortune that the Ferrari
star's season was halted just as the Prancing Horse was belatedly beginning to get into its stride.
Following an abject start to proceedings during which the F60 proved to be lamentably shy of the leading pace, the 2008 F1 World Championship-runner up had to wait until the Spanish Grand Prix
in May to get his bid off the mark.
Worse still, his Hungaroring
injury – caused after the Paulista was struck on the helmet by a 1kg suspension spring that had flown off the rear of the Brawn GP
of compatriot Rubens Barrichello
just ahead of him, momentarily knocking him unconscious and sending him flying off into the circuit barriers – came only a fortnight on from his best result of the year-to-date, with a fighting third place at the Nürburging. All of that makes it difficult to accurately assess Massa's season, but as in 2008, the Brazilian seemed to have the legs of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen
until he was sidelined, in race conditions at least.
Now, not only does he have to fully recover from his injuries before the start of the 2010 campaign, but the 28-year-old – whose wife Anna Raffaela gave birth to the couple's first son, Felipe Jnr, at the end of last month – will have to face the added challenge of the arrival of double world champion Fernando Alonso
at Maranello in Raikkonen's stead. Few expect Massa to actually beat Alonso – but then four months ago, how many truly believed he would set foot inside the cockpit of an F1 car again either..?Statistics:Championship finish:
5Top ten grid positions:
The seventh and eighth-placed drivers will be revealed on Wednesday. Meanwhile, to see the driver you voted in tenth place, click here