In 2008 Felipe Massa had the world at his feet. Only a script that would not be taken seriously if it wasn't a cruel truth, robbed him of the world crown and handed it to Lewis Hamilton. No problem, his driving that year was sublime as he learned from the master, Schumacher, who had taken him under his wing and helped him to all but eliminate errors, find the speed that was always there and turn him into a real world class star.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix in July of 2009, fate showed that it had one more savage trick up its sleeve as an errant spring from another car smashed into Felipe's helmet inflicting serious injury to his head and brain. He has made, on the face of it, a full recovery. But the erratic Felipe that first burst on to the F1 scene in 2004 is more in evidence than ever. He is often a blur in the cockpit, smashing in to kerbs and continually sawing away at the wheel. The kick of sand in the face is on the other side of the garage where one of the all time greats, Fernando Alonso has made the team his own. Unlike with Schumacher, this time Felipe isn't listening. Alonso is sublime in the car with no wasted energy but the more the Spaniard reigns, the more Massa flounders.
In Germany this weekend, Felipe was lost. There is still no sign of the form that took him to the very edge of the title he has dreamed of since childhood and time is fast running out. He is almost certain to lose his prime seat at Ferrari come the end of the year and I cannot see another front line outfit taking him on. His rise and fall has all the hallmarks of a Greek tragedy, and I feel that the Formula One World Championship may have slipped out of reach.