I do see what you're saying, and of course, I have no evidence other than anecdotal so I don't claim to be "right". But I don't agree that Kimi's reputation was so very wrong. It was never "proven not to be", because with that statement you are automatically assuming that it is proven fact that Massa is a poor driver. Kimi's reputation hasn't actually been tarnished all that much just due to his pairing and performance against Massa. Teams still want him, it's a question of price and also which team he is happy to drive for. If anything, prior to his accident, Massa's reputation had indeed gone up. Of course most still believed that Kimi was down on motivation, but most still acknowledged that Massa had also developed as a driver.
I didn't say Kimi's reputation was tarnished so badly that no teams wanted him. I'm saying that his previous reputation of being the quickest driver in F1 was proved to be false, and that even though a lot of pundits, commentators, etc. accepted that he was the quickest, we found out that he really wasn't.
I agree that a driver tends to be quicker when the car suits him and so on. My point simply being that Massa being down 1.1 sec, with no errors, on a track that other drivers, the press, most fans etc acknowledge as one that he is a specialist at and indeed one that is his home track, indicates that Felipe may actually be telling the truth when he talks about the tyres. My post is basically a refute of other posts claiming that Felipe is using tyres as an excuse. I'm simply saying that had the gap between him and Alonso been smaller at Interlagos, relative to other tracks, I would say yes Massa could be making excuses. But since it is opposite, I don't think it's fair claiming Massa is making up excuses.
That is the point I've been trying to make, my friend. Massa's reputation as an Interlagos specialist seems a little bit like Kimi's reputation as the quickest driver in F1 - both are generally accepted and believed, but neither actually deserved the claims. Massa, as I've stated previously, got his reputation from beating Kimi in the Ferrari, their cars which have always gone very well at the circuit. He only had one benchmark to measure against so it could be that Interlagos is Kimi's weak track as it could be Massa's strong track. I hope you get what I mean.
As an analogy, consider Nadal before his current amazing performances and when he used to excel mainly on clay courts. If suddenly he starts to perform poorly on most courts and says it's because he's got an injury, but still wins everything on clay, one could be forgiven thinking that the injury could be an excuse. However if he performs poorly on clay as well, there just might be some truth to his claim.
Your Nadal example if not comparable to Massa's. Nadal as a clay specialist has been proven to the point it's almost beyond any doubt. He has beaten so many players and not just at Roland Garros but in the Master Series tournaments like Madrid Open, etc. This is exactly the point I'm making about Massa; he has only beaten one driver at Interlagos. You cannot compare the two.
I don't think that in 2010 we saw the same Massa we've seen before. Aside from the rude way LdM said it was as if Massa's brother had turned up to drive, he's getting clear hints from the Ferrari camp that his seat is at risk if he doesn't improve his performance. Ferrari have no reason to expect him to improve his performance unless they know that he underperformed relative to himself this year.
No one will know for sure if last season's Massa was the same as before. I'm not disputing that he might have problems with the car nor claiming that he was beaten on raw pace alone. What I'm disputing is the claim that he is an Interlagos specialist. There simply isn't enough evidence for that.
Thank you for a civil and enjoyable discussion by the way! :-)
Same to you