Felipe Massa says he accepted the decision taken by Ferrari to give him a five-place grid penalty in Texas, even if he wasn't 'jumping for joy' when told he would be slipping back to eleventh place.
Ferrari took the decision to break the seal on Massa's gearbox to incur a penalty that would drop the brazilian five places on the grid – but which would also mean that Alonso moved up a spot from the dirty side of the grid onto the clean side.
Massa in turn was then left with work do on race day from eleventh on the grid and produced an impressive drive to take fourth spot.
Speaking afterwards, Massa admitted he hadn't been overly pleased with the decision to demote him on the grid but said he was aware that it was the best thing for the team and showed Ferrari was right to keep him on board for 2013.
"For me, this result is a bit like a win, definitely the best race of my season: now I can say I'm happy to have started eleventh!” he said. “This morning, when I was told I was dropping five places, I can't say I was jumping for joy, but I accepted it to help the team and my team-mate: I don't think many drivers would have done the same, but I am an honest person and will always do my utmost for my team.
“At the start, I made up three places, but then I ran wide and lost a few. After that, I had a strong pace and also pulled off some passing moves at various points on the track: once I even got two cars at the same time. We did the best we could have done today: I don't think I could have fought Vettel or Hamilton. I really enjoyed driving on this track: it is great fun and the atmosphere is very nice. It's probably not going to be my favourite circuit of all, but it is one of the ones I like.”
Massa added that he would again do what he could to help the team in its title bid in Interlagos next weekend and said he would be racing to do the best for Ferrari.
“Now we go to Interlagos, my home race,” he said. “It would be nice to end the season on the podium, or even with a win. What's certain is that I will do everything I can to help the team reach its targets: today, maybe I could have finished ahead of Fernando, but I'm well aware of the championship situation and I do what is right for Ferrari, as I've done throughout my career."
Team boss Stefano Domenicali was also quick to praise Massa for taking the penalty and thanked him publically for the way in which he had helped the team.
“I want to congratulate Felipe, not just for his great drive in the race, but above for all for the way he went along with our decision to knowingly take a penalty so as to maximise our potential at the start, especially for his team-mate,” he said. “It was definitely a tough decision, but he took it with the same spirit he has always demonstrated, in that the interests of the team come before those of the individual. Not only did events show it was the right decision, but furthermore we had further confirmation, if it was ever needed, that Felipe is a team player, sincere and honest, who fully shares our values and for that, I want to thank him publicly.”