Ok, its one test, and it means next to nothing, but Felipe Massa finished today's Pirelli test in Abu Dhabi top of the pile, completing a lap a whisker faster than his qualifying lap for the race proper. Could this signal Massa's return to top form?
There's no denying that Massa was a disappointment in 2010, probably the biggest disappointment of the lot. It was a pleasure just to see him back on track at the first race after his life-threatening injury in Hungary last year, but his 2nd place in Bahrain proved to be the exception rather than the rule as he limped into 6th place in the Championship a massive 108 points behind his impressive team mate.
He impressed in parts and Korea in particular was something approaching his 2008 vintage, but he was nowhere near consistent enough but could we be about to see a Massa renaissance?
After the last major tyre change, when we returned to a single tyre supplier in 2007 Massa won two of the first four races and was on pole in three as more exalted colleagues such as Kubica and Alonso struggled to adapt to the new Bridgestone construction, he ended the season in fourth place but only 16 points off the World Champion, Kimi Raikkonen.
This is a mere hypothesis since we have no real evidence to go on - one swallow does not make a summer and all that, but maybe a wholesale change of boots is just what Felipe needs to get the spring in his step (perhaps not the best choice of phrase given what clobbered him at Hungary...). Massa seems genuinely well-liked in the pit lane and after his freakishly gracious behaviour after losing the world title on home soil in 2008, no one would begrudge him a vastly improved season next year. I think he was probably on the verge of being dropped by Ferrari late in the season so it can't come soon enough for him.