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.”

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own