So what does it tell us that Massa had one of the best qualifying scores of 2017? He thrashed rookie team mate Lance Stroll 17-2 (Massa withdrew from the weekend before qualifying in Hungary). On average he was seven-tenths of a second quicker in qualifying.
Nor was Stroll showing great signs of progress in this respect. He was a second slower than Massa in four of the last five qualifying sessions.
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So either Massa made a quantum leap forward in terms of one-lap pace in his final season of competition (one which, 12 months ago, he was not going to take part in) or Williams got nowhere near the true qualifying potential of their FW40. The likelihood it was the latter may well influence their decision on who to replace Massa with in 2018.
Yet remarkably, one of the very few occasions Stroll out-qualified Massa was in dire conditions at Monza, where he put the car on the front row.
There’s little doubt Stroll was flattered by the points scores at the end of the season. He may have performed better in the races than he did in qualifying, but not enough to deserve to end the year three points off his team mate.
Massa vs Stroll: The scores
Massa vs Stroll: Season results
2017 F1 season review
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- Take the F1 Fanatic 2017 end-of-season quiz
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