Sauber (2002, 2004–2005). Massa driving for Sauber at the 2005 British Grand Prix.
In his rookie year in Formula 1, Massa was paired with 1999 F3000 champion Nick Heidfeld at the Sauber team. Massa showed he was a competitive driver, but made several mistakes during his rookie season, including spinning off the track on several occasions. Massa scored 4 championship points in his first season, with a best result of 5th place at the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya. Massa suffered a one race suspension late in the season, forcing him to miss the United States Grand Prix.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Sauber's former driver drove for Massa in that race. Although Massa returned to the driver's seat for the Japanese Grand Prix, Sauber confirmed that Frentzen would partner Heidfeld in 2003, leaving Massa without a race seat. Instead, Massa spent a year with Sauber's engine suppliers, Ferrari, gaining experience through testing for the championship-winning team.
After gaining more experience and demonstrating that his mistake rate had declined, Sauber re-signed Massa for the 2004 season. In 2004, Massa scored 12 of Sauber's 34 points, with his best result being a fourth place finish at the Belgian Grand Prix. His teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella, scored the team's other 22 points. In 2005, Massa remained with Sauber. Although he only scored 11 points, Massa outpaced his teammate Jacques Villeneuve through most of the season, and beat him in the drivers' championship. In 2006, Massa re-joined Ferrari as a race-driver, alongside Michael Schumacher.
Massa got a good start at Ferrari, qualifying second at the opening race in Bahrain, and coming from 21st position to 5th in Malaysia, beating teammate Michael Schumacher, who had started from 14th. However, in Bahrain, in both Saturday practice and the race, Massa seemed to resume his tendency to spin, narrowly missing eventual winner Fernando Alonso in the race. He kept up his reputation as being a bit on the wild side at the Australian GP when he crashed his Ferrari in qualifying, and then collided with Christian Klien and Nico Rosberg at the first corner of the race.
However, Massa scored his first career podium at the Nürburgring, finishing third, behind Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. He also set the fastest lap at Barcelona in 2006. Massa achieved four more podium finishes in 2006, in the USA, France and Germany and took his first F1 pole position and his first F1 win at the 2006 Turkish Grand Prix, at the Istanbul Park circuit. His future position at Ferrari was secured when Michael Schumacher announced on 10 September 2006, that he would retire from F1 at the end of the 2006 season.
On October 22, Massa won his home grand prix at the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix (Michael Schumacher's last career race), marking the first time a Brazilian driver had won at Interlagos since Ayrton Senna in 1993. The Brazilian eventually finished the season third with 80 points, behind world champion Fernando Alonso and Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher.
2007. Massa topped the time sheets on five occasions and set the fastest lap for four circuits during the 2007 pre-season testing. However, his 2007 season began with problems. At the season opening Australian Grand Prix, he suffered a gearbox problem during qualifying and required an engine change.
Massa started the race from 22nd position due to these problems and a 10-grid-slot penalty for the engine change. He employed a one pitstop strategy for the race and finished in sixth place. Massa's problems continued in Malaysia, where despite qualifying on pole position, the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton overtook him at turn one.
Massa ran off the track while attempting to overtake Hamilton, and lost two more places, dropping down to fifth place, where he finished the race. However, his season subsequently improved, as he won the Grands Prix of Bahrain and Spain, both from pole position, and finished third in Monaco.
The race stewards at the Canadian Grand Prix disqualified Massa for leaving the pit lane while the red light was showing. After this disqualification, he won one more race at the 2007 Turkish Grand Prix, and finished on the podium at six more races, including a second place finish at his home grand prix at the Brazilian Grand Prix. Massa led much of the Brazilian Grand Prix, until yielding the lead to teammate Kimi Räikkönen, thus securing Räikkönen's world championship title.
Massa finished the 2007 season ranked fourth in the drivers' standing with 94 points.
In October 2007, Massa extended his contract with Ferrari to the end of 2010.
Massa driving for Ferrari at the 2007 United States Grand Prix
Massa driving for Ferrari at the 2007 British Grand Prix