Hamilton and Massa clash again

By on Sunday, October 30, 2011

Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton. Photo credit: FIA

For the third time in four races the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa’s collided. Today in India the contact left both cars damaged but able to continue.

The incident happened on lap 24 as Hamilton closed on Massa in a battle for fifth position. Hamilton attempted a pass on the inside into Turn Five, Massa turned into the corner and the pair collided. Hamilton struggled back to the pits for a new nose and complained of vibration for the rest of the race, Massa spun off but got back onto track without losing his position.

The Stewards of the meeting examined the incident and gave Massa a drive-through penalty for causing an avoidable accident. Ferrari’s response was diplomatic, but ultimately suggested they saw it in a different light. “As regards the incident with Hamilton, as usual Ferrari respects the decision of the Stewards, even if, in this case, we have a different view to theirs,” said team principal Stefano Domenicali.

Massa, 30, was livid.

"There’s not much to say at the end of a weekend like this. I am really unhappy that I was not able to finish a race in which I showed I had the pace to fight for the podium. As for the collision with Hamilton, I can only say I do not share the opinion of the Stewards who inflicted the punishment. I simply stayed on the ideal line, braking on the limit and staying on the part of the track that was rubbered in. What else could I do? It’s the umpteenth time that Hamilton runs into me this year and it seems it’s some sort of fatal attraction…In the past, I tried to talk to him but he did not seem to be interested in doing so. Now it’s best to immediately turn the page and think of the final two Grands Prix of the year"

Hamilton though took no blame for the incident. “The contact with Felipe [Massa] was just one of those things. I really didn’t feel like I was at fault – it was a racing incident. On the grid, just before the one minute’s silence [to remember Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli, tragically killed whiled racing recently], he and I were standing next to each other and I put my arm around him and told him: ‘Have a great race today.’ I’ve still got great respect for him.”

Ultimately the penalty did not affect Massa’s race. He would complain of handling trouble and eventually break his front suspension going hard over a kerb before rolling to a halt. It was a very similar failure to the one he experienced in qualifying, but also on the side of the car that collided with the McLaren.

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