Felipe Massa has insisted third place was the best he could hope for in last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, as Ferrari's chief rivals McLaren-Mercedes ran away with proceedings in a dominant one-two showing.

In what was inarguably the Scuderia's weakest performance of the season to-date, the Brazilian ultimately took the chequered flag more than a minute adrift of winner Fernando Alonso. Had the race been just a few minutes longer, he would likely have been lapped.

"I was really happy with my personal performance over the weekend," he underlined. "We should not forget this was my first podium finish in Monte Carlo, which is a good result in itself. However, we were not so happy with our car performance. If you look at how McLaren started on the first day we knew it would not be easy to be in front of them, but we managed to limit the damage and third place is not a disaster when you look at how close and competitive the championship battle is at the moment.

"Certainly we cannot be 100 per cent happy with the result, given that our rivals filled the top two places. They have some elements of their package that worked better at the circuit than ours, but equally I think it was not just McLaren being impressive in Monaco; it was also Ferrari being weak.

"If you look at the difference between McLaren and Renault in Monaco and compare it to the gap between them in Barcelona there was not much difference, whereas in Monte Carlo Renault's pace was similar to ours', which shows something in our package did not work there."

Following back-to-back victories in Malaysia and Spain, Massa is nevertheless only five points adrift of the championship lead, jointly shared by Alonso and McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton. He is adamant the battle for honours has a long way to go yet.

"We can be sure this situation will not continue," the 26-year-old stated, "because our car is better than that, which in itself is further motivation to do well at the next race in Canada where we should have a good package.

"The championship is still looking good for me after these important points for third place. There are still 12 races to go - five points not a big difference and I feel everything is still 100 per cent open in the fight for the title. Consistency is what will matter over the rest of the season and that is why it is always important to be on the podium. My worst result this year is a sixth place, which is actually not that bad, but you have to make sure you are always in the top three."

 

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