Massa ranked No.17 in F1
FIGHTING TO KEEP HIS SEAT: Felipe Massa's poor points haul in 2012 means the struggling driver will have to drastically improve to retain his seat with Ferrari beyond this season.
Felipe Massa has been ranked as the 17th best driver on the 2012 Formula 1 grid as the season passes the halfway mark. Massa, who is fighting to keep his seat at Ferrari after seven consecutive seasons with the famous Italian team, gave his August break a boost at the weekend by going "P1" at his home Interlagos circuit.
He was faster than regulars including former Grand Prix driver Christian Fittipaldi during practice for a round of the Brazilian Copa Fiat touring car series.
MASSA TRUMPED BY ROOKIES
Massa said: "Having one set of tyres more than the others helped me but I was not expecting to be quicker than these excellent and experienced drivers."
Auto Motor und Sport's mid-season rankings, show that the Ferrari driver was a lowly seventeenth - 16 places behind team mate Fernando Alonso and reportedly outclassed by drivers including Daniel Ricciardo and Vitaly Petrov.
Massa said: "Many people believe this is the first time I've been in such a situation.
"It's not. It happened a lot in the series I did before Formula 1, if I did not win the race then I probably wouldn't have the money to do the next one."
ALONSO TOPS RANKINGS
The Auto Motor und Sport ranking was calculated by averaging the scores given by the magazine to each driver following each of the eleven Grands Prix so far in 2012.
Championship leader Alonso's score of 9.09 out of 10 was the highest, followed by Sebastian Vettel (7.64), Lewis Hamilton (7.55) and Kimi Raikkonen (7.27).
Michael Schumacher is sixth with 6.73, McLaren's Jenson Button twelfth (5.73), and Barcelona winner Pastor Maldonado scored 4.45 out of 10.