Felipe Massa has said that Michael Schumacher was 'lucky' not to make his return to F1 with Ferrari last season, as the F60 was 'not as quick as [cars] he'd had in the past'.
Speaking in a lengthy interview with The Guardian
, the Brazilian also admitted it would be strange to see the seven-time champion line up Mercedes this season after ending his long relationship with Ferrari in order to make a return to the sport.
Massa suffered serious injuries in an accident in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix and was ruled out for the remainder of the season as a result.
Schumacher was Ferrari's first choice to replace the Brazilian but was ruled out of contention by a neck injury sustained in a motorbike fall earlier in the year. Test driver Luca Badoer then got the call but after two lacklustre performances he was replaced by Giancarlo Fisichella, who also failed to trouble the scorers.
While talk of Schumacher's return led to excitement within the paddock, Massa admitted that he didn't feel it would have been the right move for the German.
"I was not sure it was the right time for Michael, because our car was not so quick as he'd had in the past,” he said. "I think he was lucky…"
Massa will make his racing return in Bahrain this weekend alongside new team-mate Fernando Alonso in a formidable looking line-up for the Scuderia
and Massa was quick to play down talk of possible tension between the pair.
"There are no issues,” he said. “Everything is going very well. When you're at Ferrari, you know your team-mate will be strong. At the start I had Michael, then three years with Kimi, now Fernando. They are all top drivers, but my way of working stays exactly the same.
“For sure Fernando is a different guy to Kimi. He speaks a lot more. He speaks. With Kimi it is difficult to have a personal relationship. He stays away from everybody. But Fernando comes from a similar world to me."