Felipe Massa's F1 points column remains blank after three rounds of the 2012 campaign, after the Brazilian finished a speed-limited 13th in the Chinese Grand Prix, but he still regards the result as 'a step forward' in comparison with his earlier outings in Australia and Malaysia.

Massa started twelfth after again missing the cut in Q2 on Saturday, but might have hoped for better things in the race. However, a combination of traffic, a lack of straight-line speed and a low attrition rate meant that he actually went backwards, compounding a frustrating start to a season in which he needs to perform.

"I tried to do my best in a very close-fought race," he sighed, "Sure, 13th place is not something I can be happy about, but I think that, as far as my race was concerned, this was a step forward compared to the first two races of the season.

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"At least I managed to run a normal race and I know I did everything that I could. The decision to make two stops was the right one, given my position, but, maybe, in
the light of how the race went, it would have been better to stop at different times. However, that's easy to say now, after the chequered flag. Each and every time I found myself in traffic, I paid for the lack of top speed, one of the major problems with our car at the moment."

While Ferrari remains third in the constructors' standings thanks to the efforts of team-mate Fernando Alonso, Massa cannot even bring himself to look favourably on a race where he has traditionally gone well. The Brazilian has won twice in the event's seven year-history, with only current team-mate Alonso able to better his tally. However, with the F2012 struggling in a number of areas, Massa does not expect either driver to be standing on the podium this time around.

"The Sakhir circuit, for the next round of the championship, does not look like being very favourable for us, given how things have gone so far," he confirmed, "As always, we will try and give it our best shot. For me, it is a race where I have always done well, but I'm not under any illusions."