Felipe Massa was left angry and disappointed after feeling Carlos Sainz Jr. deliberately hindered him during his first run in Q3 on Saturday at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
The Williams Martini Racing driver, who is competing in his penultimate Grand Prix of his Formula 1 career before retiring, had shown strong pace during both Q1 and Q2 only to find the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team driver getting in his way between turns four and five, which cost him valuable time and momentum and ultimately saw him make a mistake heading into turn six that forced the abandonment of his lap.
Massa will move up to ninth on the grid once Daniel Ricciardo takes his grid penalty for his engine component change, but the Brazilian was frustrated that Sainz deliberately got in his way on Saturday.
“I was so happy with the car in Q1 and Q2, and unfortunately in Q3 I had a driver, Carlos Sainz, disturbing my lap on purpose, on purpose,” said Massa.
“And I think that’s really amazing, because when you have a mistake from the engineer or maybe didn’t know the car was coming, it can happen. But on purpose, no.
“I was much more front of him when I left the garage. After corner five I let him go, but I was a lot more in front of him. He was completely in front of me, very close, and I lost, you can see in the lap time. That’s what happened.
“I even spoke to him and said ‘this time you disturbed me on purpose, you knew I was coming.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I knew, because you disturbed me yesterday in the long run.’
“I said ‘come on man, we are in the qualifying, you know…’ He did it on purpose and for me that is completely unacceptable, and this disrupted my qualifying to be maybe four of five positions in front.”
Massa returned to the track for a second shot but was unable to better tenth on the grid, and had he matched his Q2 time, he could have been at least three or four places higher up the grid than he ultimately ended up.
“It was raining a little bit on the last lap and I didn’t put it together,” said Massa. “I was locking up and I’m not starting in the position that I should be.”