Felipe Massa refused to agree with the decision of the stewards who penalised him for a collision with McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton during the inaugural Indian Grand Prix today in Delhi.
The Brazilian insists that he was just sticking to the racing line as Hamilton attempted to overtake him at Turn 5. The stewards saw it differently and handed Massa a drive-through penalty.
Soon after serving the penalty, Massa was forced to retire from the grand prix after damaging his suspension over one of the raised kerbs that feature at the apex of most of the corners around the new Buddh International Circuit in a similar accident to the one he suffered in qualifying yesterday.
“There's not much to say at the end of a weekend like this,” said a clearly frustrated Massa. “I am really unhappy that I was not able to finish a race in which I showed I had the pace to fight for the podium.
“As for the collision with Hamilton, I can only say I do not share the opinion of the Stewards who inflicted the punishment. I simply stayed on the ideal line, braking on the limit and staying on the part of the track that was rubbered in. What else could I do? It's the umpteenth time that Hamilton runs into me this year and it seems it's some sort of fatal attractionâ€¦In the past, I tried to talk to him but he did not seem to be interested in doing so.
“Now it's best to immediately turn the page and think of the final two Grands Prix of the year. They are both special, because Abu Dhabi is a sort of second home race for Ferrari, with that amazing theme park which sits alongside the circuit and then comes Interlagos, which is always special for me.
“I will try and forget this trip to India as quickly as possible, but that will be absolutely nothing to do with the country!”
Fernando Alonso enjoyed much better success at this inaugural Indian Grand Prix. He finished third, collecting his ninth podium of the season.
“It's nice to jump on the podium for India's debut in Formula 1 and I'm pleased to have a new trophy to take home,” said the Spaniard. However, today was a special day, full of contrasting emotions. In fact, the satisfaction at getting a podium finish cannot cancel out the sadness which has been with us for several days, because of the deaths of two of our colleagues, two special people – Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli.
“After this race, second place in the Drivers' championship is still possible, but it will be very difficult because McLaren is on great form at the moment, even if the gap is only 13 points. We are aware that on paper, we are behind the two Red Bulls and two McLarens: then, if something unusual happens, we can make it to the podium.
“Today, the team was fantastic, managing to fix a problem on the front wing which was only identified twenty minutes before the start. At the start, I did not get away particularly well and so Button was able to pass me. Then I tried to stay close to Webber and when he slowed down a bit, I closed right up and, staying out on track a few laps longer than him, I was able to get ahead of him. Being patient paid off.
“Now we head for Abu Dhabi, a race that is a bit unusualâ€¦Maybe I will go to the Ferrari Park to play golf to relax prior to the race and then, on Sunday night, I will try and bring home the only trophy not yet in my collection.”