It’s getting to be a habit. On the strength of recent events, it wouldn’t be an F1 world championship Grand Prix if Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari didn’t get too close for comfort and one or other of them ended up shedding parts of their bodywork as a result on the inevitable contact.
It happened again on Sunday in Japan. And, once more, Massa called on the FIA to get seriously tough with the 2008 world champion. Even though a section of Massa’s front wing came off as the two cars touched under braking for the chicane, while jostling for fourth place, the stewards duly reviewed the available evidence and concluded that it was no more than a normal racing incident. Neither driver was held to be at fault.
In his defence, Hamilton claimed that poor reward vision was a key cause behind the incident. “The only thing I have to say is that I can’t see anything out of my mirrors, they vibrate down the straight so much that I had no idea he was there,” said Lewis. “Maybe it’s something we can fix, but anyway I have no problems with him.”
If Hamilton thought his remarks might go some way towards mollifying his furious Brazilian rival, he was wrong. Massa was still simmering when he replied: "I don't care, to be honest, about what he [Hamilton] said. The only thing I care about is what he did. He was so slow in 130R and he stayed on the right-hand side.
"I was much quicker, so I went to the left-hand side and I braked there. I stayed on my line; he moved his car and touched my car. There's nothing more to say. For what he says, I don't care. I care about what the federation says and what the FIA does.
"They have penalised people for much less this year and this time they didn't do it. It's the second time in a row after the problem in qualifying as well in the last race, and after what happened yesterday. And after many times this year. The FIA needs to take care of that. They are the only ones who can take care of that."