Massa succumbs to team orders

2012-09-10 11:49

MONZA, Italy - Felipe Massa and Jenson Button will take vastly different approaches to the remaining races of 2012.

Button admitted after retiring from Sunday's Italian Grand Prix that his title hopes were now all but over.


The 2009 World champion is 78 points behind championship leader Fernando Alonso with seven races to go; his McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton is still well in the reckoning.

As Button said before leaving Monza: "It (the championship) is going to be very difficult but nothing is going to change. I'm still going to race hard and try to win every race. It is such a special feeling to win a GP."

At Ferrari, however, the pecking order is firmly in place and Massa - fighting hard to stay with the Italian team for 2013 - got the team orders firing on Sunday.
He let Alonso pass him at Monza to maximise the championship leader's points and vowed to do more of the same, if possible, between Singapore later this month and the Brazilian finale in November.


Massa said: "I worked for the team, trying to help Fernando, which is as it should be. I have always done it and will do it whenever it's necessary."

Team boss Stefano Domenicali praised Massa's race and attitude. "Felipe proved to everyone - not to us, because we knew already - that he is a driver who can fight for the very top spot and that at Ferrari we work as a team, united in our efforts to reach the targets we set ourselves."

If Massa can keep up his improved form, the "No.2" issue could ultimately be decisive in Ferrari's deliberations about its 2013 drivers.

Sauber's Sergio Perez, although hotly tipped to oust Massa, said after passing both Ferrari drivers at Monza that he would "fight any driver, no matter if it's Fernando or Lewis".

Massa said on Sunday: "I don't know if this race changes anything regarding my future but definitely the most important thing for now is to keep going like this, working with great concentration and trying to do my best for the team."