Felipe Massa says he feels he can be a contender in the championship reckoning this season on the back of a solid start to the new F1 season.

The Brazilian out-qualified team-mate Fernando Alonso for the second successive race to earn a place on the front row of the grid at Sepang and then finished the race in fifth spot to leave him fifth in the standings on 22 points.

It maintained a solid start to the season for the Ferrari man, who didn't hit the 22 point mark until the ninth round of the campaign last year and he admitted he was feeling confident about his chances through the remainder of the season on the back of his start.

"I think we need to be confident and I am very confident," he was quoted by ESPN. "We need to keep our feet on the ground, but we know there has been a great deal of work from last year to this year in the car.

"There is a lot to do, there is a lot to make this car better and better and make the evolution right on this car and make this car more competitive. I think if we carry on in this direction the chance of winning races and to fight for the championship is there."

Massa last won a race in F1 back in 2008 when he crossed the line first in his home race in Brazil, briefly believing he had beaten Lewis Hamilton to the championship crown in the process.


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