Felipe Massa is back to his very best following a successful 2014 season according to Williams performance engineer Rob Smedley.
Massa went from title contender in 2008 to midfield driver following his 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix accident which saw him sit out much of the season in order to recover from a serious head injury.
He then went 35 races without a podium before returning to the top three in 2012 with two podiums and then another in 2013 – but he was outclassed by his Ferrari team-mate.
However a move to Williams has seen Massa find his flow once again. He took three podium finishes, including second in Abu Dhabi were he almost denied Lewis Hamilton the victory.
His recent results and his new relaxed attitude are signs that the Brazilian is back on form, according to long-time friend and engineer Smedley.
“When I first turned up [at Williams] and saw how relaxed he was in this environment, I knew that we could start to get the results that he should be getting,” the Briton is quoted as saying by Autosport.
“And I think that has just been compounded as the year has gone on, and as he has enjoyed the environment more he has got better and better.
“I think in Abu Dhabi you saw the very best Felipe. He was absolutely flawless; he didn’t put a foot wrong, there was lots of information coming back, he was involved in the strategy,” he explained.
“That’s what a top driver does. A top driver gets involved and he leads from the front.”