Nico Rosberg was bitterly disappointed to finish fifth in the China Grand Prix, after starting fourth and then leading for a total of 14 laps.
The Mercedes driver was low on fuel in the final stages, and was passed late on by eventual winner Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber and Jenson Button.
Rosberg said: "Leading the race for such a long time was a great feeling.
"But we had fuel consumption issues which made it really difficult. It was horrible, really horrible."
He lost third place to the charging McLaren of Hamilton on Lap 42, having been told on his team radio "fuel is critical".
Rosberg then went down to fifth but reclaimed fourth only to go back a place on the final few laps.
The German driver acknowledged the adjustments made to his car after slow practice runs on Friday seemed to pay off in the race itself.
"We've made a nice big step with the car, we were leading the race for such a long time," he said.
"We'll surely get the result the car deserves next time."
With Massa sixth ahead of the other Ferrari (Fernando Alonso), Rosberg's team-mate Michael Schumacher was the next-best finisher - eighth from a start position of 14th.
Mercedes' overall performance in Shanghai finally confirmed their strong pre-season testing pace was no mistake, and the team now have another two weeks to work on the car before the Turkey Grand Prix on 8 May.
Seven-time world champion Schumacher said: "We are heading towards the first race in Europe now and will bring some upgrades to Istanbul which should help us to improve even more.
"It is good to leave Asia with a positive feeling."