Felipe Massa closed to within a point of overhauling Lewis Hamilton and taking the lead in the drivers' championship following a solid finish at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Massa, who started from sixth, lost time early on in the race battling with Nico Rosberg and while he did come under some pressure in the final 15 or so laps from Hamilton, in the end the Brazilian took sixth spot with ease.

Speaking after the chequered flag, the Ferrari man noted that he wasn't disappointed just to pick up three points: "It was a tough race: I had hoped to do better but I'm also aware it could have been worse. In fact, I've managed to make up a point on my nearest rival so this is absolutely not a negative result," he reasoned.

"In normal conditions, in other words in the dry, I think I could have made it to the podium.

"In the first part, I was struggling because there was not much grip. In the incident when I overtook [Nico] Rosberg, I lost a few seconds when the team told me I had to give back the position: that was probably the decisive moment because after the first pit stop, I found myself in traffic.

"On top of that, when it was time to switch from the extreme rain tyres to the standard ones, those who had opted to do just one stop definitely had the advantage.

"In the second part, I knew [Lewis] Hamilton was closing on me fast, but I could not see him in my mirrors because they were too dirty. Luckily, Rob [Smedley - my race engineer] helped me, talking me through the situation in real time. Then he dropped back a bit.

"I tried to attack [Nick] Heidfeld but then I thought it wasn't worth taking too many risks and I just chose to bring the car home."

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali meanwhile was philosophical about the way things panned out. He did concede though that they need to work on getting more from the Bridgestone tyres in the wet - something that hurt Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, who finished only ninth in the other F2008.

"We're definitely not satisfied with this result, but considering the circumstances in which the race was run, it could have actually been much worse," he added.

"Once again today, we had confirmation that, in certain track conditions and temperature range, our car is not quick enough. Then, it only needs a slight change for the performance to return to being very competitive. Clearly we must take countermeasures as quickly as possible because similar conditions could occur in the remaining four races.

"Having said that, we must not forget that we have taken a small step forward in the Drivers' classification although our lead in the Constructors' has reduced substantially [and we are now just 5 points ahead]. There are four races to go though, and everything is still possible."


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