x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 August 2017

No laughing matter for Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa in India

The duo's feud intensified after yet another clash and this time it was judged to be Massa's fault.

GREATER NOIDA, INDIA // Mr Bean provided a splash of humour to proceedings, but there was little to laugh about for Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton following an Indian Grand Prix that intensified the long-standing feud between the two Formula One drivers.

Rowan Atkinson, the British comic, was watching the race from Hamilton's team garage at Buddh International Circuit when the McLaren-Mercedes driver and Ferrari's Brazilian collided for the third time in four races. His reaction was to contort his face into an extended Bean-like cringe.

Massa, on the 23rd lap of 60, had found himself under pressure from the 2008 world champion and at Turn Five, after checking his left mirror, turned into Hamilton, resulting in damage to both cars.

Race control deemed the Brazilian to be at fault and he was given a drive-through penalty.

"I don't understand why I have the penalty," said Massa after being later forced to retire with a suspension issue.

"All the incidents are him touching my car. So I didn't do anything wrong.

"I braked later than him, I was in front and on the grippier part of the circuit and I didn't see him on the left. So he was behind and he touched my rear wheel."

When asked how he could not have seen him when he appeared to check his left mirror numerous times, he said: "I knew he was on my side, but when I braked this is the important place and he was not on my side.

"If we were wheel to wheel I would not have turned."

Hamilton recovered to finish seventh, but was in downbeat mood after the race.

"Yet another collision … there's only one guy I generally seem to collide with," he said. "I just can't apologise enough to my team for the negativity that surrounds me nowadays."

A minute's silence was held before the race to mark the lives of Dan Wheldon and Marco Simoncelli, two drivers who recently died in racing accidents.

Hamilton said that during the silence he stood next to Massa, who he has not spoken to for more than a month, and put his arm around him in an act of reconciliation.

Massa refuted the claims, however, and said he simply touched his arm and said "have a good race".

"This is trying to do what?" the Brazilian said. "'Have a good race' is not part of talking."

Hamilton added he is determined to return to race-winning form when he arrives at Yas Marina Circuit for the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on November 13.

"I just have to try and keep my head up and recover in the next race," he said.

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae


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