Massa and Hamilton clash again at Suzuka
Another race, another on-track clash for Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton: it's becoming an F1 tradition, as is the post-race disagreement about who was to blame.
There was another round in the ongoing on-track feud between Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton in the Japanese Grand Prix, when the two clashed early in the race as they ran side-by-side through the chicane.
The contact cost Massa the end plate of his front wing and other damage that affected his race performance, and he wasn't at all happy that it compromised his performance for the remainder of the race.
"My car was definitely damaged by it," Massa said. "When I looked at it after the race, I saw there was a bit of the front wing endplate missing and the floor was not on properly on the left hand side and I could feel it in the way my car was behaving."
"Felipe was having a very good race, at least until the contact with Hamilton," pointed out Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali. "The damage his car suffered in this incident probably penalised him excessively in the second part of the race."
As for whose fault it was, Massa had no doubt: "I think the footage speaks for itself: he was struggling with his tyres and I had almost come alongside him and for no reason, he moved over and hit me. I let you be the judge," he finished. "It's pointless for me to say any more about it."
Lewis Hamilton had a different view of the incident: "I don't really know what happened with Felipe," the McLaren driver insisted. "The car's mirrors vibrate at high-speed, so I couldn't see him pulling alongside me.
"I want to apologise for our cars' touching," Hamilton continued, taking a conciliatory tone. "Fortunately nothing happened to either of us. There was no bad intention towards Felipe; I've got the utmost respect for him, he's a fantastic driver and he was extremely quick today."
The incident was put under investigation by the race stewards, which included 1980 world champion Alan Jones, but they agreed that it had been a racing incident and deemed no penalty was necessary.
"Once again I finish a race with a very bitter taste in my mouth," summed up Massa as he left Suzuka.