Team boss Stefano Domenicali was full of praise for Felipe Massa after the Brazilian produced his best performance of the season to take sixth in the Monaco Grand Prix.

The underfire Brazilian went into the weekend having scored just two points in the opening five races of the season, leading to increased speculation that he will be replaced by Ferrari when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

Qualifying in Monte Carlo saw Massa make it through to Q3 for the first time in 2012 before a solid performance in the race saw him take the chequered flag in sixth place on the end of a trail of cars fighting for the lead.

Speaking after the race, Massa said he was keen to now try and build and his Monaco display and show he is worthy of his place in the Ferrari line-up.

"It was a good race," he said. "I felt comfortable with the car right from the start of Thursday's free practice. I had the right feeling and it was much easier to drive than at the previous races. Maybe it depends on the nature of the track or the set-up and we definitely need to analyse everything carefully to see what we can learn from this weekend.

"All things considered, I could have brought home a better result, but I am happy nevertheless. It was a very difficult race and very close and I was able to match the pace of the leaders. I am only sorry I was unable to do a few laps with a clear track ahead of me when the tyres were still competitive. The start was very good and also the tyre degradation, especially on the soft compound was minimal.

"A driver always wants to do the maximum so I can't be delighted with sixth place, however these are important points. I really hope my championship has turned around and that, from now on, I can always be in the fight for the top places, as was the case here in Monaco. Now we go to Montreal, which is a different type of track to this one, because you need a good top speed but, in fact it's not that different in terms of the set-up required."

Massa's performance drew from team boss Domenicali, although he said the whole team couldn't afford to relax as it seeks to maintain its championship challenge.

"We leave the principality with a very positive result and, above all, with Fernando Alonso leading the drivers' classification and Felipe Massa having delivered a brilliant and feisty performance all weekend long," he said. "Both our drivers did a great job, from the first to the last lap and the team behind them was a match for the situation.

"I am particularly happy for Felipe who needed a positive result: I'm sure this weekend really represents a fresh start to the season for him. We have to be satisfied, but we must definitely not relax, especially as we are not yet the best in terms of performance, particularly in qualifying. As I usually say after a good weekend, keep calm and carry on!"

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