Massa endured such a miserable run up to the summer break that it led to Ferrari scouting around for a possible replacement.
Since then, however, Massa has rediscovered his form and confidence, in particular with a car far more to his liking.
It has resulted in Massa now out-qualifying team-mate Fernando Alonso at the last four GPs, including today ahead of tomorrow's showdown in Malaysia as the Brazilian knocked the Spaniard down to third.
For the first time in three years, since the season-opening Bahrain GP in 2010, Massa will start on the front row, lining up alongside polesitter in Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.
Massa has admitted to feeling re-energised of late, adding: "I feel comfortable in the car, that I can do a good lap and get the maximum from it.
"It was clear I was not comfortable last year, the year before, I had so many problems around the car, with myself, bad luck.
"Things were not going in the right direction, but now they are.
"I know how quick I can be, I've shown that many times in the past, and I know if everything works then we can be competitive.
"I believe in myself, which is really important for the team, for Fernando as well, for everybody.
"We need a strong team, to be in a strong position, fighting for position every race, which is a good direction to take.
"Right now I feel very happy. When I get in the car I'm much happier, which is the best thing for the team."
Qualifying is one thing, but the race is another as Alonso managed to turn the tables in the United States and Brazil at the end of last season, finishing one place ahead of Massa
In Australia last Sunday, Massa had to settle for fourth as Alonso finished runner-up, but the Spaniard is far from having it all his own way for once since joining Ferrari.
Asked whether the competition was proving a motivation, Alonso said: "I've been 27 years now in motor racing - I'm getting old - and it's not the first time I've had very close competition.
"For the last three years it's been very close. I know Felipe was not that close in terms of results because he had some bad luck and was involved in some incidents, had mechanical problems.
"This year is very close, nothing different, maybe a little closer, which is the best news for the team because you need competition in the team, you need to share information.
"We are pushing each other to our limits, and that's good for the team."