Revealing comments from Hamilton and Massa (updated)

Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Interlagos, 2007 | Ferrari MediaLewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa have apparently given new insight into two of the pivotal moments of the Brazilian Grand Prix that decided the world championship in Kimi Raikkonen’s favour.

Hamilton is quoted admitting that he inadvertently caused his car’s gearbox problem early in the race. He said:

My finger slipped on the steering wheel and I accidentally pressed the button used for the starting sequence. The car went into neutral and I had to reinitialize the system, that is, reload the gearbox management program.

Felipe Massa meanwhile allegedly told Brazilian television that he was instructed to let team mate Kimi Raikkonen past. His remarks may prove unwise given that ‘team orders that interfere with the result of the race’ are forbidden by the rules.

Thanks to Brendan in Brazil and Sidepodcast for the tips.

Update: Hamilton did not admit causing car failure in Brazil

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26 comments on Revealing comments from Hamilton and Massa (updated)

  1. Well everyone makes mistakes, but it takes a man to admit it!
    He has just come up the list in my estimation of him!

  2. oliver said on 23rd October 2007, 9:10

    After fighting all season for this championship, its amazing how quickly Alonso and Hamilton are distancing themselves from it. Good of Lewis to admit his mistake.

    Keith, whenever I see Ferrari, putting more fuel into Kimi’s car during a pit stop. I just know Massa has been told he has to yeild. And it happened several times this season.

  3. nellyweb said on 23rd October 2007, 9:41

    I wish they would bin the whole “team orders” stuff. The teams should be able to manage their drivers any way they wish.

  4. “Well everyone makes mistakes, but it takes a man to admit it!
    He has just come up the list in my estimation of him!”

    KB, yes, except Pitpass.com blew the lid off of the mistake *before* he admitted it :)

  5. That is true, but I still didn’t think Lewis would actually come out and admit it! Although I see the news hasn’t reached the major media outlets yet – the BBC etc…

    And I agree that the teams should be able to manage their drivers however they want – in a situation like this anyway, perhaps it’s a bit much to see in the first few races of the year though.

  6. hobbitland said on 23rd October 2007, 11:27

    Hi, I also wish they bin this team orders thing as well. It seems McLaren has been running two teams all season. There is no team play at all. If Alonso was forced to back Lewis a few races earlier they would have won the drivers championship.

    Another way to look at it was if Lewis wasn’t driving so hard in China and Brazil he would have won the championship.

    McLaren’s makes me laugh. There is no such thing as two equal drivers. In reality McLaren has two number 2 drivers. Next year maybe a repeat of the same mess if Alonso and Lewis continues to stay at McLaren. But that’s good that means Kimi going to win again.

  7. “…but I still didn’t think Lewis would actually come out and admit it!”

    yep, probably true.

    according to pitpass today, mclaren are denying anything of the sort, but pitpass remain convinced.

  8. oliver said on 23rd October 2007, 13:34

    Sidepodcast:

    In this age of Internet Journalism, its difficult to say if his admission came first or if it was blown out by pitpass. He may have already admitted it but just that pitpass got wind of it earlier.

  9. fair point oliver. can’t argue with that.

  10. Eric M. said on 23rd October 2007, 16:38

    Ferrari may very well have ordered Massa to slow a little to let Kimi past, but in my mind they were perfectly correct in doing so. And the way they did it shows just how difficult policing teams orders can be. If Massa could just keep quiet about the whole thing, there would really be no way to prove that orders were actually issued. But I also think the “ban” on team orders should be lifted on team once their second driver is no longer in contention for the championship.

  11. How they can ban team orders? That’s nonsense, you see, there are TEAMS in this championship, and they should be able to do whatever they want.

  12. Of course Massa let Kimi past. I believe the US commentators mentioned something about Massa pitting several laps too early.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s a sad precursor to Massa’s next several years at Ferrari. What made it worse was he was in front of his home crowd.

  13. MacademiaNut said on 23rd October 2007, 17:47

    So much for driver equality.

  14. having said all that – if he’s admitted to it – surely they have to do something about it. they went to such lengths against maclaren at monaco, surely they have to do something. Massa was the faster driver throughout the weekend, and I think frankly that as a title decider last race of the season Team Orders are a bit of a joke.

  15. Eric M. said on 23rd October 2007, 18:11

    “I said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s a sad precursor to Massa’s next several years at Ferrari. What made it worse was he was in front of his home crowd.”

    I’m not so sure. What if Massa hadn’t allowed Kimi to pass? Would he have solidified his postion in Ferrari any better by holding on for the win, and depriving Kimi of the title? Of course not. Massa did the smart thing, and I think his career at Ferrari will benefit from what he did in Brazil. Even though Kimi took the title this year, I’d be very surprised if Massa is relegated to No. 2 status from the outset of 2008. Ferrari is not Kimi’s team in the sense that it was Michael’s team, and I think Massa will be allowed to challenge next year just as he was allowed to challenge for most of this year. After all, he was on even terms with Kimi until his car failure in Monza, wasn’t he? If he can repeat that performance next year, and with a little luck, I think we could see him challenging for the 2008 WDC.

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