Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has blamed 'difficulties' during the opening phase of the Malaysian Grand Prix for his failure to get on the podium.
Massa qualified on the front row for the second round in the 2013 F1 World Championship - the first time he has managed that feat since the Bahrain GP way back in 2010.
However a poor start and a lack of confidence with a new set of intermediate tyres saw him lose ground early on and while he did recover once on the slicks, and fought his way back to fifth at the finish - passing the likes of Sergio Perez and Kimi Raikkonen after his final stop - he still wasn't particularly pleased with the result.
“Today's race was really complicated, because starting with a new set of intermediates on a track that was very damp at some points and completely dry at others, prevented me from having a good pace and I lost ground to many other drivers on the first lap,” he explained.
“Maybe bringing forward the first stop to fit dry tyres was a slightly risky choice, because the track was still damp and this cost me time [too].
“[But] then on the dry track, the car improved, the tyre degradation wasn't excessive and I managed to settle into a good pace, but at that point, any hope of finishing on the podium had vanished.
“I can't say I'm satisfied with this result, but given all the difficulties I had at the start of the race, I am happy to bring home a good points haul”.
Ferrari technical director, Pat Fry agreed that Massa's pace over the initial 5-8 laps was what compromised his afternoon, although he still felt the Brazilian drove a 'good race'.
“In the wet [at the start], Felipe struggled a bit to find the right balance and that compromised his chances of fighting for a podium position,” Fry confirmed.
“Once it was dry though, his lap times improved: he definitely drove a good race which enabled him to pick up some useful points.”