Revealing comments from Hamilton and Massa (updated)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. “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.

  16. Massa will surely be allowed to establish his speed and reputation in that team. However, Ferrari have always done things their own way.
    If a driver with perhaps one tenth or one sixth the salary comes out in front, people will lose their reputation or influence, Ferrari will simply fall into internal politics. The driver with the bigger pay must be ahead.

  17. Of course Massa let Kimi trough, every team would do that :)
    But I tought when they made the teamorder rules, that there was an exception…and that was, when it came down to the championshop… but I could be wrong..

  18. Of course Massa did the right thing,he knows he will never make it at Ferrari without “teamwork”,that is how this team has been doing things since Schumacher.

    He never should have let the team order get out but,it is not in Massa’s personality to let things go unsaid.

  19. Just fingers too big…
    First time one driver will lost a championship for this!:)

  20. Wow for Hamilton to admit that is huge. I knew that is wasn’t mechanical. Did he admit it because it was on tape (youtube)? Or did he admit it prior to the release of the video.

    Massa doesn’t have to worry about his statement. Ferrari has their own rule book from the FIA. Ferrari can do anything (almost anything) they want.

    The days of 2 rule books, one for Ferrari and one for the rest of the teams, should be over. The fans are not robots. We can see the differences, and they are obvious.

    A new rule book (just one) needs to be addressed. I hope that 22 weeks is long enough time for the FIA to accomplish this task.

    Why can’t there be one set of rules to cover the sport. Just follow or face the consequence that should be spelled out in the rule book. No exceptions. This way when a race ends we know the results.

  21. “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.”

    Massa was not the fastest driver in first practice. They fuelled Massa slightly more than Kimi for qualifying. Massa set the fastest lap as there was little else to do when running behind your team mate. I’m not taking anything away from Massa, I love the guy and have no doubt his knowledge and experience of Interlagos, but put everything into context, you have 2 cars and 2 drivers about to finish 1-2. One combination wins (by hypothetical numeration only) the constructors – the other combination wins drivers and constructor. The latter earns you the 1 and 2 decals on next years cars (when your main rivals will have 23/24, pending). One of your drivers cannot win the WDC, whereas the other driver relies on the TEAM to win the WDC.

    As a TEAM, which do you have to go for?
    If the ITV commentary is anything to go by (god forbid, it was atrocious during Brazil) then wouldn’t McLaren have done the same?

    “Ferrari will simply fall into internal politics. The driver with the bigger pay must be ahead.”

    Not necessarily. Irvine nearly won the WDC before Schumacher in a Ferrari, circumstances or not. They might try to put the higher paid driver in an advantageous position, but in the end whoever has the clear lead should be backed up. Shake and Bake.

    But it’s also why I HAD respect for McLaren – they like to think differently, treating drivers equally, but it has hardly come out like that.

    What’s worse was in 1998, it was a “gentlemen’s agreement” that whichever McLaren went through the 1st corner in Australia behind the other McLaren would play 2nd fiddle for the rest of the season. It may not be team orders, but does this not conflict with McLaren’s ethos? No wait, Mika wasn’t a favourite of McLaren anyway…was he?

    If I were any driver in F1, there is no team at the moment I’d sooner join than McLaren. It doesn’t matter about being treated equally professionally – if you know that the team will personally want the other driver (Hamilton) to win, that’s not a good mindset.

    This is why I love Ferrari – they function as a TEAM. Even nomad Kimi recognises the difference.

  22. It was who goes in the corner first goes on for victory in the race… not the whole season…

  23. The idea that teamwork should be extinguished is ridiculous. Why have 2 drivers per team, then? Make it 1 and bring more teams into the competition. Some people might find it boring and unsporting, but you just have to remember Gerhard Berger and Ricardo Patresi to see the beauty in it. It´s not easy to be a GOOD 2nd driver – not everyone can hold Mansell or Senna back, and those guys did it brilliantly. I hope next year we have 3 drivers fighting for the title, and 3 very good sidekicks doing whatever they can to make their fella the champion. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to have Kubica holding Hamilton back, so he can´t reach Heidfeld, while Massa is trying to hold that same Heidfeld while Kimi is coming from the back, trying to gain back positions until he can challenge Heidfeld? So much nicer than a whole season divided into “Race 1 – Ferrari x Ferrari”, “Race 2 – McLaren x McLaren”, etc.

  24. Simple math Massa could not be crowned the champion so the logic and ethics and so on dictate in a team sport to do what it takes to work for the big picture do your personal best so that the team has a chance to do the impossible. Is there another choice for a good guy?
    MsLaren on the other hand can explain step by step how the golden child was getting ahead and almost made it and in the lengthy story are still in denial that they tied hands of their own champion (2 time champion)they appear to miss that through the entire race Alonso was in third. If Hamilton could climb what limited Alonzo from such simple advance? Could it be the McLaren “team” no no no Alanzo found it too borrring to go for third title! Nothing like an opportunity to get to know what it is like to be the third in the last race.
    Yes if you are brthish you see nothing but professional treatment from McLaren and clearly can not sense special treatment towards Hamilton and if you are not you see reality and can not comprehand why McLaren defeated themselves.

  25. Marcel Fleming
    25th October 2007, 3:57

    If drivers championship is a “team game”, why is there the “constructor championship”?

    This is bs… Massa’s help to Kimi took the title from Alonso… So it is not fair.

    F1 is not a sport anymore. It is just business.

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