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Tough talk due after Massa goes rogue

2014-03-31 10:26


TEAM ORDERS? Williams F1 team driver Valtteri Bottas (above) was left frustrated after team mate Felipe Massa disobeyed team orders. Image: AFP

SEPANG, Malaysia - Team orders triggered at the Malaysian Grand Prix caused controversy on Sunday when a defiant Felipe Massa refused to obey an instruction to let Williams team mate Valtteri Bottas overtake.

Massa, no stranger to unwelcome radio messages while with his previous team Ferrari, finished the second race of the F1 2014 season seventh and just ahead of his frustrated team mate.

McLaren's Jenson Button was sixth, managing to hold off the Williams pair despite struggling for straight-line pace.


Williams' chief operations engineer Rod Nelson said the team felt Bottas had fresher tyres than Button and would have been able to challenge. Massa didn't see it that way and said he had been surprised to hear the message "Valtteri is faster than you, do not hold him up" over the team radio.

Massa said: "What I did was correct and I try and do the best for the team. I'm sure the result would not have changed if I had let him by. The problem was I was much quicker than McLaren the whole race but going out of the last corner they had very good traction. Valtteri had the same problem, overtaking McLaren was not easy."

Nelson said the plan had been for Bottas to attack Button but if he couldn't overtake Massa would have been allowed to reclaim seventh.


Nelson said there would be a discussion with both drivers to discuss the matter and that it was "a strategic decision" rather than team orders.

"He didn't do what we would have preferred him to do," he said of Massa, we look to maximise our Constructors' points whenever we go racing, Felipe was running high temperatures on his engine and we were concerned about it. Valtteri had much fresher tyres than Jenson."

Bottas was sombre after addressing reporters. Massa initially tried to steer questions off the subject, which took the shine off Williams moving into fourth on 20 points in the Constructors standings.

Bottas said he had followed a subsequent instruction by not overtaking Massa in the final two laps before contradicting the version of discussion in pre-season. "We've spoken before about these situations but I think we need to go into more detail. We are going to talk through it so everything is clear."

The wording of the message would have been particularly painful for Massa, famously told "Fernando is faster than you" while leading the 2010 German GP.

On that occasion he moved over to let team mate Fernando Alonso win. He later described it as the toughest moment of his Ferrari career.

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