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Monday, October 13, 2008

Of penalties and petulance

Surprise, surprise, Lewis Hamilton has determined Felipe Massa deliberately collided with him in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

The two title rivals came together on lap two when Massa ran over the curb in an attempt to overtake the McLaren. Massa spun Hamilton, sending him to the back of the field.

The Ferrari driver received a drive-through penalty for his aggressiveness.

“He outbraked me, so I didn't get past him on the way in," Sky quotes Hamilton. “I did the corner normally, and he came back very aggressively and hit me. I think that was pretty much as deliberate as can be.”

It wasn’t the only controversy surrounding the Brazilian Sunday. Sebastien Bourdais’ post-race 25-second penalty for a collision with Massa on lap 51, which boosted the Ferrari man to seventh place, has drawn the ire of the paddock.

Opinion generally placed blame for the incident on Massa, and now Crash.net reports the stewards’ decision came against the advice of race director Charlie Whiting, who recommended prior to the race cars exiting the pitlane had the right of way.

It has also been questioned why no punishment came during the race when the incident occurred with 16 laps remaining.

All of this comes on the heels of Lewis Hamilton’s penalty for a similar transgression at Spa, and criticism for delays in handing out penalties in Singapore for fueling when the pitlane was clearly closed.

Massa, for his part, defended his scrap with Hamilton and blamed Bourdais for their coming together.

“I think the duel...with Hamilton was hard but fair, and the drive-through really penalised my race,” he said. "As for the incident with Bourdais, I think there's little to say – I had already entered the turn and he hit me from behind, spinning me round.”

With two to go and Hamilton sporting a five point lead, Massa may need an ally or two as he tries to win the championship.

Fernando Alonso says if he has the opportunity, he’s the man.

“Yes, no doubt, if I can help, I will help Massa," Sky reports Alonso told the AS newspaper.

Well, we didn’t think he’d be helping Hamilton, did we?

Meanwhile, BMW Sauber has pledged its support for Robert Kubica, who remains in contention after pulling down second yesterday.

“As long as there is theoretically still a chance to win the world championship, then we will not sleep,” Autosport quotes technical director Willy Rampf. “We'll try and do what's possible in this short space of time. I can't say we expected to be so close to the leading teams at two races before the end of the season. It's overall very nice.”
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was correct to penalize Massa for tagging Hamilton. There was no way he could have passed him there. It was foolish. As for deliberate; no, there's too much chance of taking your own car out. Massa's smart enough to know that. He needs to beat Hamilton, not hold station with him. With Seabass, it was a racing incident. However, the stewards will hand out penalties for pit exit incidents. They want tight control of the pit lanes and no matter which way the penalty would have gone, I'd agree with their motives.

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