Massa scraped through to Q3 but then set the fifth fastest time.
"It was a great lap, a great performance", he said. "I think it was a perfect qualifying today. I think I'm driving in the direction I want and I think when you are like that you can be very competitive".
"Even if I'm not starting from pole position, I think it's like a pole position because I did such a fantastic lap and I hope I can do a similar job tomorrow in front of my people".
Ferrari moved Felipe Massa back five places in Austin last weekend to boost the title hopes of Fernando Alonso. With the Spaniard qualifying only eighth, Massa joked that he would not accept another penalty.
"If this happens I will race with the gearbox broken...".