Felipe Massa has admitted that his poor performance when compared to new Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso is down to not feeling entirely at home in the Scuderia's F10, despite having been on the pace in pre-season testing.
The Brazilian has yet to better the second place he took in the season-opener in Bahrain - completing a Ferrari 1-2 behind Alonso - and has seen his results tail off since also appearing on the podium in Australia. Having headed the championship standings heading to round four in China, Massa currently sits in a share of sixth place with the unlucky Lewis Hamilton, some 21 points adrift of overall leader Jenson Button. Alonso, meanwhile, moved back into second spot after taking a similar result on home soil last weekend.
"During the winter tests, I was 110 per cent happy with the car and then we went to the first race and the car was great, everything was working perfectly as I wanted," the 2008 championship runner-up reflected, "Then, when we changed the tyres, I was always struggling a little bit more to get used to the car, to get used to the grip level, so that was the biggest problem, the biggest issue that I felt in the last races."
While highlighting the tyres as a potential factor in his disappointing results - he was only sixth in Spain - Massa also hinted at other problems that he and Ferrari were attempting to address.
"There are some issues that I felt this year, but I'm working very hard and I'm going to solve the problem," he confirmed, "We know it's an issue that has cost me a few points in the last races, but it's something that I know I'm going to solve. We have so many ideas, looking around Barcelona, so let's try to use these ideas to see if they're going to work. For sure, we have a group inside the factory and myself as well working very hard to solve all the problems I had."
It is hoped that the return to the super soft and medium Bridgestone compounds that yielded his best results of the year could see Massa return to form in Monaco this weekend, especially as the Brazilian shrugged off a reputation for not excelling around the tights streets in each of the last two years.
"Last weekend was not really great for me, especially in qualifying, and I was struggling a lot to find the good grip level," he noted, "Starting ninth and finishing sixth was not so bad [as a result]. I just had no grip to try anything, so it was not a very nice race to do.
"I hope we can do a better job this weekend, as the different tyres which [will be] on our car were working quite well in Bahrain. We will see how it is going to be. Monaco is always Monaco, but I hope we can do a better job here. It is always a difficult track and you can lose time very easily in whatever corner, so the driver is always important to do a little bit better on some of the little details. We will see how the weather is going to be as if it is raining here it is always a lottery, but I am looking forwards to doing a good job here."