Hamilton-Massa feud enters 'dangerous phase'

By on Monday, October 31, 2011

Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton. Photo credit: FIA

The feud between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa is entering a "dangerous phase", a Brazilian correspondent wrote after Sunday's Indian grand prix.

The 2008 championship challengers' series of on-track collisions continued at the new Buddh circuit, but this time it was Massa who was penalised.

The suspicion is that by finally putting some blame on the Ferrari driver, tensions might equalise and the quarrel may end.

Johnny Herbert was the driver steward in India, but Alex Wurz has also fulfilled the FIA role in the past.

"In my opinion," said the former Benetton and Williams driver, "it was 50:50. It was a normal racing incident."

Still, tensions are high. Briton Hamilton put his arm around Massa after the minute's silence on the grid to mark the deaths of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli.

"He hadn't spoken to me for a long, long time," revealed the McLaren driver. "I wished him good luck for the race and he gave me a really small acknowledgement, but I wasn't expecting anything more really."

Brazilian Massa later rubbished Hamilton's pre-race efforts.

"He just said 'Have a good race'. This is trying to -- what?" he asked reporters. "'Have a good race' is not part of any talking."

Then came the collision, and Hamilton did not comment at length afterwards as, according to the Telegraph, boss Martin Whitmarsh advised the driver to leave the track quickly.

According to O Estado de S.Paulo journalist Livio Oricchio, it is not just the media intrigue that must stop.

Shortly after two fatalities in premier motor racing, "Next time, it is them (Massa and Hamilton) who could be hurt," he noted.

Sir Jackie Stewart, a staunch advocate of safety, was told the pair have touched on track in six of the 17 grands prix so far this year.

"It's an alarming statistic," said the triple world champion.

Whitmarsh urged them to sort it out.

"They're young drivers but they're not that young," said the McLaren chief. "They're men. They've been coming together too frequently.

"Felipe is under enormous pressure within that team and that causes him to react and, in truth, Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performances of Jenson Button at the moment," he added.

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