Felipe Massa insists that there were positives to take away from the Canadian Grand prix, despite believing that he had the pace to finish on the podium.

While the claim may not seem too outlandish given Williams' pace on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished third from fourth on the grid - Massa was coming from the inside of row eight following problems in qualifying that saw him fail to progress beyond the first phase on Saturday afternoon.

With Mercedes power at his back, however, the Brazilian made relatively rapid progress through the midfield, despite a brief and entertaining hiatus behind Marcus Ericsson, and had risen to seventh by lap 20 and fifth within another ten laps as pit-stops took effect. Massa's own pit-stop - the only one he made as he followed a one-stop strategy - dropped him to the foot of the points positions, before steady progress in the closing stages returned him to sixth by the chequered flag.

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"It was a good race but, in a way not, because we could have finished on the podium," the diminutive veteran reflected, "For sure, I was very happy with my race, very happy with my overtaking, with the pace, strategy - especially the pace with the option was really good. I was really happy with that.

"The car shows very good performance, so the only negative thing of the weekend was qualifying and the problem we had with the wastegate. That was the only negative thing because the race was very good today."

With only two Mercedes, his team-mate and the Ferraris ahead of him at the flag, Massa was quick to dismiss Williams' perceived pre-race target, claiming that Red Bull, in Montreal at least, was not a high enough target.

"Our target was to beat everybody we could on the track, so it was not just Red Bull," he insisted, "We saw that Red Bull didn't have good pace so I think, after ten laps of the race, it was maybe a little bit easier thinking we could finish in front of both Red Bulls. But the target was to beat everybody we could on the track and I think that was the right one."

Although his progress through the field provided some entertainment in a relatively quiet Canadian race, Massa admitted that his battle with Ericsson had been a highlight, albeit an unexpected one.

"It was okay - close, but it was okay," he smiled, "For sure, it was not an easy race but, when you do some good overtakes, you really enjoy.

"It's maybe the only race I remember when we didn't have a safety car here, which is not normal. It's a very easy track to have a safety car but, maybe this time, people behaved a little bit better - and, to be honest, the weather was good as well."