It all started during qualifying at Singapore when Hamilton drove like he’s known to, determined to pass Massa before starting his flying lap in Q3. The two almost had a run in before Massa finally let Hamilton pass.
“I didn’t understand what he wanted to do,” said Massa. “There were three cars slow, preparing their laps. He was in the condition to touch with somebody on the out lap – I think he didn’t use his mind. Again.”
Hamilton said: “The guys always try to back you up and I was ready to get going. I was trying to get past but he kept blocking and blocking and eventually I got past.”
Race day though, wasn’t so lucky for either drivers. Hamilton trying to gain ground (and gain ground, he did) turned into Massa, breaking part of his front wing, while Massa was forced to limp back to the pits with a right rear puncture.
What happened at the post-race interview is something you’ve seen too many times on YouTube we bet, having searched for ‘Hamilton Massa Singapore 2011’. Massa patted Hamilton’s arm and then the shoulder, and said: “Good job, bro” , of course with all sarcasm he could manage. Hamilton replied: “Don’t touch me, man. Don’t touch me”.
Things took an uglier turn when the official race edit released on Formula 1 contained a radio call from race engineer Rob Smedley to Massa during the race.
In the message, Smedley comes on the radio to tell Massa to ‘hold Hamilton as much as we can’ and to ‘destroy his race as much as we can’.
The latest news to emerge has Ferrari downplaying the contents of the radio call. Ferrari insisted that there was no malicious intent in what was said even if the wording chosen wasn’t the most ‘politically correct’.
In a ‘Horse Whisperer’ column published on the Ferrari website, the team said that the call came at the exit to turn five, at the end of lap 11, in other words, it had nothing to do with the collision that followed.
“It’s true that Felipe Massa’s race engineer was caught up in the heat of the moment and chose to use the verb “destroy” at some point. It might not have been the most politically correct choice of word, but it definitely carried no malicious intent, especially when you take into account that Rob is a Middlesbrough lad, born and bred! It is also true that this exhortation to Felipe came at the exit to turn five on lap eleven of the race, at the end of which both the Ferrari man and Hamilton were due to come in to the pits together. In other words, it had nothing to do with the collision between Felipe and Lewis that happened on the following lap.”
Read the full column here