Felipe Massa had his sights set on second place in the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday, but it was not to be.

Massa hoped to used a fresh set of tyres to take the battle to Kimi Raikkonen on the closing laps of the Barcelona race, but when he finally slipped on his new set of boots he found they didn't live up to the hopes he had for them.

"Right to the very end I thought it might be possible to fight with Kimi," he said. "But when I fitted my last set of hard tyres - the ones we thought would be best as they were new - I had oversteer and began to lose the rear much earlier than I had expected."

That meant he was forced to settle for third place after all, no doubt left wondering what would have been possible if he hadn't been penalised three grid spots for blocking Red Bull's mark Webber in qualifying the previous day.

Before that penalty he was due to start from sixth place on the same row of the grid as his team mate Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race. Instead, Massa had to battle his way up from ninth place on the grid which proved quite a task in those early laps.

"When you start from far back everything's more complicated, but I managed to get away well and I immediately had a fantastic pace," he said. "On the first lap I pulled off a few overtaking moves thanks to the car being very competitive, which meant I could be aggressive, while at the same time looking after the tyres.

"All the same, I am very pleased with our performance at this track," he added. "I am very happy with this podium. It was a really nice race and a fantastic result for the whole team."

It certainly puts him in an optimistic frame of mind looking forward to the next race on the 2013 calendar - the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix in a fortnight's time.

"Now we head for Monaco, a completely different track where overtaking is very difficult," he said. "We know we don't have the quickest car, but all we can do is continue to work with the same amount of effort, because I'm sure we are going in the right direction".