If Ferrari needed reminding that there are plenty of young drivers capable of replacing Felipe Massa they only need look at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix Result. Sergio Perez’s impressive drive from 12th to second could be seen as him reaffirming to Ferrari that he would be the best man to replace Massa in 2013.
Despite Perez claiming that his second place finish would not influence any driver decision made by Ferrari he couldn’t have given them a better demonstration of his potential as one of F1s top drivers. The result was partly down to the masterful race strategy played out by his Sauber team. They elected for him to begin the race on the hard tyre whilst all his rivals started on the medium compound. By starting on the hard compound Perez was able to pit after his competitors and climb the field to second, just seconds behind eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton.
Massa may have provided himself with a little bit of breathing space having had a strong weekend. Qualifying third gave him his best chance of securing a good result all season but he wasn’t able to capitalise on a great start and eventually finished fourth behind team-mate Fernando Alonso. Being outshone by Perez won’t have helped his case but if Massa can continue to produce strong results for the remaining races of the season he could just hold onto his seat.
Whilst rumours have begun to circulate around other drivers replacing Massa next year, Perez has kept himself in the running by providing a flawless performance. His ability to be a top team driver in the future is not in doubt after Sunday’s performance. Ferrari may not employ him as a driver for next season but it now seems inevitable that one day they will.