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Injuries not reason for 2010 struggle – Massa

Felipe Massa has dismissed suggestions he has lost some of his edge after returning to formula one from serious injury.

The Brazilian, after almost clinching the 2008 title and initially leading Ferrari alongside Kimi Raikkonen in 2009, missed most of the second half of last season after his horror qualifying accident in Hungary.

So far in 2010, the 29-year-old has usually struggled for pace relative to the sister F10 driven by Fernando Alonso, and is 31 points behind his Spanish teammate.

But when asked if there is a link between his crash last year and his slump in form, Massa is quoted by Brazil’s Globo: “They are separate problems.

“This championship has been a little worse than I expected, but I know why.  It’s not because of my accident but the problems I’ve having with the tyres.

“I’m just the same as I was before.  I know that if everything had gone in the right direction, I would be fighting for the title.”

When asked about Massa in an interview with Spain’s AS newspaper, Alonso answered: “I think he is a very competitive driver, very fast, and not just in qualifying but also consistently in the race.

“Felipe is the toughest teammate I have had.  Sometimes it was harder to beat Fisichella and Trulli, but I was not as good a driver back then.

“Hamilton was different, he came straight from GP2 at the same time we went from Michelin to Bridgestone, so he had tyres much like he had used in GP2.  For sure he’s one of the best.

“In terms of talent, my current teammate (Massa) is one of the best,” insisted Alonso.