One of the bigger highlights from the Monaco GP yesterday was the performance of Felipe Massa who, for the first time, scored a decent haul of ten points. To me, however, the most notable part was that Massa was seemingly faster than Alonso early in the race. After a couple of laps of following Massa’s tires were probably cooked and Alonso pulled away easily. To suggest, based on this performance, that Massa is as good as Alonso is laughable. This moment may show a turning point as many analysts would like to think.
I think, however, that it is too early to know. The fact of the matter is that Monaco is a very special place with very special characteristics. Massa’s performance at Monaco offers several insights into his driving style that may be at the cause of his relative lack of performance. Monaco requires traction and does not have high energy turns. So a driver with a sensitive right foot can be better off than one with good steering inputs at Monaco.
It will be interesting to see what happens at Canada in two weeks time. Canada is also a traction course but there are also some more high energy inputs. It also does not require particularly good race craft, something that Massa is not particularly good at. We’ll see.