Felipe Massa’s demons from Germany 2010 required another exorcism when Williams instruction to let team-mate Valtteri Bottas past took the unfortunate phrase “Valtteri is faster than you.” The order was greeted with a robust defence from Felipe, but while Massa said he understood the instruction, he stipulated that he felt it was unclear whether any advantage could be gained by letting his team-mate past.
“I could hear everything but it was not clear”, said Massa. “What I did was correct. I’m trying to the best for the team. I’m sure the result would not (have) changed even if I had let him (Bottas) by. The team respects me 100% and they respect me 100% after the race as well. What happened today was not what I expect but what I did was correct.”
Chief test and support engineer Rod Nelson took a slighter dimmer view of the situation.
“We haven’t had a meeting yet so we’ll have to take it up with him…” said Rod. “He didn’t do what we’d preferred him to do”, said Nelson in a post-race interview.
With Valtteri’s tyres five laps younger, Nelson was convinced that Bottas at least had a reasonable shot at fighting with Button. He also added that Felipe’s engine temperature also added a mitigating element to the situation – a point that he would address when he had a chance to consult both Felipe and Valtteri.
“You’ve got to understand we aim to maximise the constructor’s points whenever we go racing” ROs continued. “Felipe was running fairly high temperatures on his engine and Valtteri certainly had much fresher tyres than Jenson did so we thought we’d let Valtteri have a go at Jenson. It wasn’t team orders it was a strategic decision… We’ll sit down with both drivers and we’ll talk through it.”
Bottas refuse to comment on the last five laps of the race, simply saying: “We’ve just had a de-brief and haven’t had a chance to have a proper chat yet, but we’re going to sit down and analyse the situation.”
Image copyright RichlandF1