Hamilton: I didn't see Massa

By on Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lewis Hamilton. Photo credit: Red Bull GEPA

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton professed his innocence after his race was marred by another collision with Ferrari’s Felipe Massa at the Japanese Grand Prix.

After a tempestuous Singapore Grand Prix, which witnessed a near-collision, a real collision and a vitriolic post-race squabble, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton may have wished to see rather less of each other in Japan but Formula One is rarely so obliging. The pair collided on lap 22, Massa attempting to pass Hamilton for third on the road, coming into the final chicane.

The Brazilian got a good run out of the 130R corner and went to the outside. Hamilton also moved outside and, with Massa having nowhere else to go, the pair traded bodywork. They would go on to finish fifth and seventh respectively. Hamilton, whose race had already been compromised by a slow puncture that dropped him from second place into the midfield, later issued a half-apology, blaming juddering mirrors for not being able to see the Ferrari behind him.

“I don’t really know what happened with Felipe,” said Lewis. “The car’s mirrors vibrate at high-speed, so I couldn’t see him pulling alongside me. I want to apologise for our cars’ touching, but fortunately nothing happened to either of us. There was no bad intention towards Felipe; I’ve got the utmost respect for him, he’s a fantastic driver and he was extremely quick today.”

Massa would later dispute the notion that the collision had no bearing on the race. “Once again I finish a race with a very bitter taste in my mouth," he said. "Today, our pace was good enough to finish on the podium, as Fernando demonstrated, but instead I am here commenting on a seventh place. It’s a real shame.

"The contact with Hamilton? My car was definitely damaged by it: when I looked at it after the race, I saw there was a bit of the front wing endplate missing and the floor on the left hand side was not on properly. I could feel it in the way my car was behaving. I think the footage speaks for itself: he was struggling with his tyres and I had almost come alongside him and for no reason, he moved over and hit me. I let you be the judge… It’s pointless for me to say any more about it.”

The FIA stewards investigated the incident during the race and decided it did not require further action.

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