F1: Felipe Massa reluctant to budge on Williams team orders

Back in 2010 the Brazilian was forced to relinquish a fairy-tale victory by handing it to his Ferrari team mate

Sepang

Felipe Massa was unrepentant after refusing to heed a ghost from his past and obey orders to let his team-mate overtake in the final stages of the Malaysian GP on Sunday.

While the race was dominated by the winner Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, the only men who were faster than him during winter testing, Massa and his Williams Martini partner Valtteri Bottas spent much of their race struggling to overtake Jenson Button’s slower McLaren for sixth place. Early on Bottas was told to stay behind Massa, but on the 52nd lap Massa was instructed: “Valtteri is faster than you, don’t hold him up.”

For the Brazilian that would have created echoes of the day at Hockenheim in 2010 when he was leading Fernando Alonso in the German GP. That was almost a year to the day since the accident in Hungary which could have killed him when he was struck on the head by a spring that had detached itself from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn.

 

Back in his Ferrari days Massa had no option but to relinquish a fairy-tale victory and hand it to the Spaniard, to assist his challenge for that season’s title.

This time he refused to move out of the way, even though he was struggling with his Williams engine’s temperatures and Bottas was on slightly fresher tyres. And he insists that he did the right thing, even though Williams could have headed to Bahrain this week with 14 points rather than the 10 they scored.

“I heard everything but it was not clear,” he said. “What I did was correct. I’m trying to do my best for the team and I’m sure the result would not have changed even if I had let him by, so it’s the same.”

Later, Williams revealed that they had a plan to switch the positions back had Bottas overtaken Massa but, in turn, not been able to attack Button successfully within two laps of the finish.

“The team respects me 100 per cent and they showed they respect me after the race, so I have no problem at all,” Massa added. “What’s happened was maybe not what I expected, but what I did was correct.

“I expect these things to happen [only] at the right time. I have clarified my situation. I have no problem and I feel really, really relaxed inside the team.”

Williams engineer Rod Nelson said: “Felipe did not do what we would have preferred him to do. But it’s not a big deal. We thought that it would be good to give Valtteri a go at getting past Jenson, and if he hadn’t achieved that within two or three laps, we would have swapped our drivers over again and everyone would have been happy.

“It’s not team orders, it’s a strategic decision based on the relative performance of both cars.”

News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore