Hamil­ton in fir­ing line again as Massa ex­presses his frus­tra­tion

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - Sport - Ian Parkes yp.sport@ypn.co.uk

LEWIS Hamil­ton walked away from a po­ten­tial dust-up with Felipe Massa fol­low­ing a bit­ter post-race show­down be­tween the duo.

On a night when Se­bas­tian Vet­tel pro­duced an­other fault­less drive with a pole-to-flag vic­tory in the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix, the heat con­tin­ued af­ter the flag fell as Massa con­fronted Hamil­ton.

A feud that be­gan in Monaco when Hamil­ton ran into Massa dur­ing the Monaco Grand Prix, earn­ing a drive-through penalty, sim­mered again on Satur­day be­fore fi­nally spilling over in the af­ter­math of an­other on-track col­li­sion yes­ter­day.

Fol­low­ing qual­i­fy­ing Massa de­creed Hamil­ton “didn’t use his mind again” af­ter the 26-year-old barged the Brazil­ian out of the way af­ter be­com­ing frus­trated with his slow pace.

So when Hamil­ton came up be­hind Massa on lap 12 of yes­ter­day’s race, it was all eyes on the duo, with an air of in­evitabil­ity they col­lided again.

On this oc­ca­sion, fol­low­ing a failed pass, Hamil­ton lost the left side of his front wing af­ter run­ning into the right-rear tyre of Massa’s Fer­rari, caus­ing an im­me­di­ate punc­ture.

It came as no sur­prise ei­ther when the ste­wards handed Hamil­ton a drive-through penalty that pitched him down to 19th and although he man­aged to claim fifth, his trou­bles con­tin­ued af­ter the race.

In the driv­ers’ pen, where TV and ra­dio in­ter­views are con­ducted, a clearly an­gry Massa ap­proached Hamil­ton from be­hind, slap­ping him on the back and pulling him by the up­per right arm to grab his at­ten­tion.

When Hamil­ton turned, Massa twice slapped him on the right shoul­der in a sar­cas­tic con­grat­u­la­tory man­ner, giv­ing him a thumbs-up sign be­fore snap­ping: “Good job huh. Very good job.”

In re­sponse, Hamil­ton shouted af­ter a de­part­ing Massa, “Don’t touch me man. Don’t touch me.”

Prompted by the in­ter­viewer to com­ment on Massa’s ac­tions, Hamil­ton sim­ply replied, “Well, there you go”, be­fore de­cid­ing to depart the pen to avoid any fur­ther ac­ri­mony or grilling on the mat­ter.

It proved to be Hamil­ton’s only in­ter­view as he left the cir­cuit an hour later with­out ut­ter­ing an­other word to any of the me­dia.

Massa, though, has had plenty to say on the sub­ject, warn­ing Hamil­ton he will never win an­other For­mula 1 world ti­tle if he con­tin­ues to drive in a ‘mind­less’ man­ner.

“What can I say? How many races this year has he gone in the wrong di­rec­tion and he’s paid. He never learns,” said a fuming Massa.

“The FIA is look­ing at that, for sure, be­cause when he is do­ing it so many times then you have some­body over you. He’s not learn­ing.

“Even in qual­i­fy­ing, what he did yes­ter­day, no­body is do­ing that to be hon­est, so I’m dis­ap­pointed, but he is pay­ing for it.”

Asked as to what un­folded in the pen, Massa added: “I tried to speak to him, but he didn’t lis­ten to me.

“I called him twice, but he didn’t lis­ten, he just passed through. He didn’t even look at me.

“Then when I did see him, I said ‘Like that you won’t win many cham­pi­onships’.

“Then I went like that (thumbs up), and said to him ‘Very good job, well done’. That’s it.”

Asked as to whether the FIA should clamp down on Hamil­ton as it is his fifth drive-through penalty this year, and in the wake of nu­mer­ous in­ci­dents, Massa said: “It is up to the FIA.

“You can’t say they made a mis­take (here) be­cause they pe­nalised him, but as I say, he is pay­ing so much for his driv­ing.”

Not for the first time this sea­son, McLaren team prin­ci­pal Martin Whit­marsh has been forced to de­fend Hamil­ton.

“Felipe ap­proached Lewis in the post-race TV in­ter­view en­clo­sure and grabbed him slightly ag­gres­sively,” said Whit­marsh.

“That riled Lewis, un­der­stand­ably so, but he acted with com-

I called him twice, he didn’t lis­ten, he just passed through. He didn’t even look at me. Felipe Massa voices his frus­tra­tion with

fel­low F1 driver Lewis Hamil­ton.

mend­able re­straint and walked away from any po­ten­tial con­fronta­tion.

“Later, he de­cided to walk away from talk­ing about the in­ci­dent too be­cause he didn’t want to es­ca­late the sit­u­a­tion. He did ab­so­lutely noth­ing wrong.”

It all over­shad­owed an­other stun­ning per­for­mance from Vet­tel, who led ev­ery sin­gle one of the 61 laps to claim his ninth win of the sea­son.

The cham­pi­onship cham­pagne is on ice un­til the next race in Ja­pan in a fort­night, though, as the Red Bull star still re­quires a sin­gle point to be­come the youngest back-to-back world cham­pion in F1 his­tory.

Be­hind Vet­tel, McLaren’s Jen­son But­ton was a com­mend­able sec­ond, fol­lowed by Red Bull’s Mark Web­ber and Fer­nando Alonso in his Fer­rari.

Force In­dia’s Paul di Resta con­jured his best drive of his de­but cam­paign to fin­ish sixth, the Scot in the points for the third time in the last four races.

Jerome D’Am­bro­sio was the toast of York­shire-based Marus­sia Vir­gin Rac­ing for a per­for­mance de­scribed by team prin­ci­pal John Booth as his ‘best of the year’.

The Bel­gian rookie pit­ted wisely and used his tryes well dur­ing one of the most de­mand­ing races of the year to fin­ish in 18th place. His Ger­man team-mate Timo Glock was forced to re­tire due to dam­age sus­tained when he was hit at turn one by HRT’s Daniel Ric­cia­rdo.

Booth said: “Jerome drove pos­si­bly his best race of the year to­day.

“We were re­ally pleased to see him bat­tling with cars that are usu­ally sev­eral sec­onds in front of us on pace.

“En­abling him to do this was a well thought-out strat­egy by the en­gi­neers which was ex­e­cuted fault­lessly by the pit crew, with last minute calls and safety cars thrown into the mix.

“I’m sure he’ll take a big lift from this race and look for­ward to the fi­nal races of the sea­son.

“Un­for­tu­nately, Timo’s race was over on the first lap with the im­pact from Ric­cia­rdo.

“It’s a great shame we didn’t get the chance to see him in ac­tion at his favourite track.”

PIC­TURE: AP.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Red Bull driver Se­bas­tian Vet­tel of Ger­many leads the field at the start of the Sin­ga­pore Grand Prix, a race he would go on to dom­i­nate to take an­other step to­wards his sec­ond suc­ces­sive ti­tle.

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