Fernando Alonso has said that he expects to see Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa become a regular feature in the points over the remaining 14 races of 2012, following the Brazilian's continued strong form in Canada.
After recording his best result of the season so far in Monaco last time out, Massa backed up Alonso's third-place qualifying performance in Montreal with sixth spot as Ferrari continues to bring developments to the previously difficult F2012. A revised aero package for the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and another tweaked version of the exhaust appeared to push the Scuderia closer to the battle at the front of the field, with Alonso heading to Canada with a three-point championship lead over reigning champion Sebastian Vettel.
"For Felipe, of course, I'm very happy," Alonso admitted, "I think he has all the support from the team, all the support from me, but he's had some difficult races at the beginning of the year, [as] the car was not the easiest car to drive and he hasn't been so lucky in some of the races at the beginning of the season. Now, from Barcelona, he's done quite a good job. In Monaco he was very quick all weekend and here as well so I expect this is the normality and it will be like this from now until the rest of the championship."
Normality is not something that has been levelled at the 2012 season, with six different winners in the opening six rounds, but Alonso is quick to point to the overall picture in search of sanity.
"The first four races were a strange case, not normal races, so we will see," he noted, "As we said on Thursday, the championship looks a little bit crazy, a little bit unpredictable, [with] some different winners and some different car performances every grand prix but, when you look at the championship table, it's Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus. One thing is one single race, and then overall for the six races that we've done, the order is more or less not very different compared with what we saw in the last two or three years."
With Ferrari still trailing its main rivals in the team standings, improved form from Massa will be a boost for its chances of success in both championships The outside of row three improves Massa's best starting position of the year over the seventh he secured in Monaco qualifying, although the Brazilian was frustrated with a couple of mistakes that he reckoned denied himself an even better slot.
“I am pleased with the progress made this weekend, [and] starting from sixth is a positive result, [but] I can't be happy with my last lap in Q3," he sighed, "In the second sector, I lost the rear end and that cost me a few tenths and that quite probably meant a few places on the grid.
"I'm very disappointed because I had the potential to do better than this sixth place [but], all things considered, I remain confident, because the whole team is moving forward, which is very important for the rest of the season. Tomorrow, we will have to pay great attention when it comes to defining our strategy - I think the choice is restricted to just a one- or a two-stop, but a lot depends on tyre behaviour. We hope to make up some places and bring home a good result."
With Alonso suggesting prior to the Montreal weekend that Massa could 'make podiums or fight for wins', the Brazilian is hopeful that his form will continue to return.
"As you know, improving helps the way you drive, especially for my driving style," he pointed out, "So I'm really looking forward to carrying on like that, improving, getting stronger race by race, fighting for many good points and even looking for victory and podiums. This is the target, the direction as I feel much stronger in the car now compared to the beginning of the season.
"Monaco was a better race, a clean race where nothing went wrong, with good pace from the first session. It was a positive weekend, even if we cannot be too happy in finishing sixth, but it was a good start. Hopefully, we can use that to do things even better here and with all the races until the end of the year."