Felipe Massa is hoping for his first points of the season at the Chinese Grand Prix after showing signs of a return to form during Saturday's qualifying session.

14200 - Confident Massa targets first points of 2012

Massa will start from 12th on the grid in Shanghai, but improved on his morning practice time by 1.576s during qualifying. He admitted he did not fully understand the reasons for his boost in performance, but is hoping it will carry over into Sunday's race.

"On the one hand I am obviously unhappy not to have made it through to Q3 but, on the other, I have to be pleased with my position if I consider where we were this morning at the end of FP3," Massa said. "In the afternoon, the situation improved, the car had much more grip and I managed to be more competitive, but I couldn't say exactly why. Probably the track conditions changed in a way that suited us.

"We hope to continue like this tomorrow afternoon and to bring home a good result: it's really needed right now! I so much want a normal race, a calm one in which I manage to do my job well and pick up some points. I still don't have any and the moment has come to remove this zero from the classification."

Technical director Pat Fry said the tyres' optimum operating window was incredibly small this weekend and that setup changes to Massa's car ahead of qualifying had gone some of the way to finding the improvement in lap time.

"From what we can understand after a quick first analysis, the optimum useage window for the tyres Pirelli has brought here is so tight that it only takes equally small changes in temperature to significantly change car behaviour. After a third free practice session that was particularly difficult, we made some changes to the setup on Felipe's car, however, they alone cannot explain the improvement we saw in qualifying. Having said that, now we must think only of preparing as well as possible for a race that will be long and stressful, especially for the tyres."