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Blame game for Hamilton, Massa

2011-10-31 08:34

CRASH: Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa collide, their sixth collision of the 2011 season, during the Indian Grand Prix.

Alan Baldwin

NOIDA, India - Feuding foes McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Felipe Massa were poles apart at the Indian Grand Prix despite their magnetic attraction on the racetrack pulling stronger than ever.

Stewards ruled that the Ferrari driver was in the wrong this time, imposing a drive-through penalty for causing their collision, but Massa rejected that and his team produced pictures to support his argument.

Massa said: "I braked later than him, I was in front... to be honest I don't understand why I have the penalty."


Hamilton, who is having a nightmare 2011 F1 season and had to pit for a new front wing after the incident, told reporters that Massa "just turned in on me, he didn't give me any space".

Asked whether there was a feud between them, Massa replied: "Maybe for him. He touched my car. So I didn't do anything wrong."

The pair, who have clashed six times on the racetrack in 17 Grands Prix this season, could not even agree on whether they had attempted to mend fences before the race after weeks of simmering silence.

With their cars lined up together on the third row of the grid, they had stood together during a minute's silence for double Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon and MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli, both killed in crashes in the last two weeks.

Hamilton said: "He (Massa) hasn't spoken to me since a long, long time, so I made an effort and put my arm round him and said good luck for the race."

Massa, beaten by Hamilton to the 2008 championship by a single point, denied that version. Massa said: "He was on my side. And then he just said have a good race. This is trying to do what? 'Have a good race' is not part of talking or whatever."


McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh said his team would not intervene although he had discussed the situation with Ferrari. "They are men, they've got to figure it out for themselves. It would be nice if we just get a situation where they are not drawn magnetically together on the circuit and we don't have those incidents.

"I think Felipe is under enormous pressure within that team and that causes him to react. Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performance of Jenson (Button) at the moment."

Button, who finished second in India, is also second in the championship already won by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton has never ended a season behind a team mate in the standings.

Massa's place at Ferrari alongside Spain's double World champion Fernando Alonso increasingly questioned in the news media.

Hamilton had been trying to pass Massa on the inside at turn five of the Buddh International Circuit when the fifth-placed Ferrari cut across and they collided. Massa later retired with a broken front left suspension after running heavily over a raised orange kerb for the second day in a row.

Massa had blasted Hamilton after their Singapore GP coming together, accusing him of "not using his mind" and slapping his rival on the shoulder while the Briton gave a TV interview.

The pair also collided in Monaco and Britain.


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