Massa and Hamilton’s Fuji crash – the penalty they got right (Video)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton clashed in the opening laps of the Japanese Grand Prix in highly controversial fashion.

Hamilton had dived down the inside of Massa at turn ten. But Massa cut across the inside of the following bend and tipped Hamilton into a spin which left him last.

The stewards hit Massa with a drive-through penalty which, based on recent incidents, it’s hard to argue against.

Heikki Kovalainen crashed into Mark Webber in similar fashion at the Belgian Grand Prix and received the same penalty for the same misdemeanour – causing an avoidable accident.

The stewards didn’t get everything right at Fuji – but I think Massa’s drive-through was the correct call. What do you think?

34 comments on “Massa and Hamilton’s Fuji crash – the penalty they got right (Video)”

  1. I agree – clumsy driving from Massa.
    Correct penalty.

  2. Actually further to my above point, ITV & BBC Radio 5 in the UK are talking a lot about Lewis not playing the percentage game.

    Fair points, but the same applies to Massa in this case too.

  3. Yup, he tried to race for a change. Happens. Good that he discovered some aggression, not good that he discovered some clumsiness. Hopefully he would get it in his control in the future. The aggression can never be a bad thing, like in the case of Hamilton.

  4. Matt, as a Lewis supporter, I think aggresiveness went absolutely wrong this time, he never seems to learn…

  5. Massa drove completely through the grass and intendedly hitted Hamilton. Even when he would have passed Hamilton, this would have been an illegal over-take because he was completely off the course and cut the corner.

  6. Jonesracing82
    12th October 2008, 7:44

    true alex cooper, but massa does have less to lose, hamo is certainly trying to lose it

  7. The penalty here was justified. Good job here stewards.

  8. I disagree here,

    At the exit of the left hander, Lewis is far too much on the inside and off the racing line.. why ? ? He wanted to close the door forcibly on Massa ( similar to Glock at Monza )

    Lewis only gave 2 options to Massa, stay behind me (on the grass) or bump into me. Any driver who was in massa’s position would have had to punt Lewis there..
    Glock would also have punted him at Monza or gone on to the grass.. He chose the latter

  9. Felipe left the door open on the right hander, and took out Hambone on the following left hander. Massa should have allowed the pass and attacked later.

    A loser of a move, almost as poor as Hambone’s over driving on turn one, lap one and catching an undeserved penalty that ruined his race, even though there was no contact with Kimi.

  10. I’m sick of this f***n stewards. One day they penalize sombody for some reason, the next race another driver gets it out without even the stewards investigating at him.

    Hamilton “pushed out of the road another driver”?

    Oh dear. Did someone even thought about investigating Alonso when he did the same thing in Spa07, or any driver that do the same thing at EVERY start?

    I’m pissed off. That’s racing, let them race. Someone should get FIA officials and their stewards in a sanitarium before they disqualify someone for “passing without warning the driver in front, hence hurting his sensibility”

    Concerning the Massa-Hamilton thing. Again, that’s racing. In my view the driver in front have all the right to close the door. Hamilton didn’t do anything stupid, he clealy passed Massa on the inside. So it was to penalize Massa, in my opinion.

    But again, races nowaday are just plain stupid. We shouldn’t ask ourselves “will it rain at the next gp”, rather “what kind of lunatics stewards will we find at the next gp”.

  11. Alianora La Canta
    12th October 2008, 8:39

    I believe that the correct penalty for that specific incident was applied to Massa. However, I believe he was involved in three unconnected penalisable incidents during the race, resulting in at least four breaches of the regulations:

    – Cutting the chicane (contrary to Article 30.3) on lap 2. It’s not even as if he can claim he returned the advantage…

    – Causing an avoidable collision (Article 16.1). The accident with Lewis could have been avoided had Felipe stayed on the track. I understand the logic in the two regulation breaches being treated as one (the second having followed on from the first), but it is still a distinct regulation breach.

    – Causing a second avoidable collision. The accident with Bourdais was avoidable from Massa’s perspective because he could see Bourdais going down the pit exit (at least at some stage) and should have foreseen that Sebastién would require that piece of track.

    – Using a forbidden area of the track (Article 30.3). Massa put all four wheels onto the triangular area dividing the track from the pit lane. Cars are not permitted in that area unless there are exceptional circumstances such as a technical failure.

    Given that Massa breached four regulations, I would be tempted to exclude him for consistent ignorance of the regulations, the same as Sato was in Japan 2005.

  12. @Sumedh
    Your defence of Massa is commendable, but I feel very much misplaced. You missed a 3rd option: Cut the chicane and avoid an accident.

    Massa missed his braking and ran wide, Lewis had no option but to take the place. If video of Lewis’ onboard could be found it shows that he was totally past Massa, on the racing line and had the corner. Massa, through his fault only, was off the circuit instead of slotting back in behind and took Hamilton off. It was rash driving. Which we’re seeing a lot of from the title contenders.

    Although I’m not a fan of Alonso, he showed in the last 2 GPs what a class driver he is, clearly the most complete on the grid. Hopefully he’ll be up challenging for the title next year – can only be good for F1.

  13. @Owen
    That 3rd option would have been a viable option; had their been tarmac, It was grass; and no sane driver would go 5-10 metres on grass..

    I agree that Lewis was completely ahead of Massa after the right-hander; then why did he unnecessarily get off the racing-line at the exit of the left-hander? Massa was opportunistic ( or say rash or aggressive) trying to take the inside line..agreed

    But Hamilton had no business being there right in the path of Massa’s flight through the grass.
    About Alonso, I second you.. :)

  14. I think he is lucky to not recieve harder punishment, because he clearly couldn’t do anything and really intended to drive hamilton off.
    But many ppl like to help Ferrari, so now bourdais gets a penalty massa deserves again, because he didn’t drive around the corner and just acted like bourdais wasn’t there, and now bourdais gets punished? weird judgement imo (maybe i need a few replays)

  15. Terse words between Massa and an Autosport journalist afterwards:

    Q. Lewis has told us that he thinks you drove into him deliberately after realising you had lost the position to him. What do you say about that?

    FM: For sure not. I had two wheels on the gravel. I could not stop the car and I was on the gravel because he pushed me into the gravel.

    Q. Do you think that is the way he sees it?

    FM: No. I don’t believe that.

    Q. Was it right for your team mates in the pit garage to be celebrating when you crashed into a rival?

    FM: Are you English? Is that your point of view?

    Q. Yes, but is it right that people celebrate when people crash?

    FM: Any time you see a Ferrari ahead of a McLaren, it is a good thing for the team. I am not going to rise (to your attempt) to put fire on the gravel. I have a good relationship with Lewis, and I will not do something to destroy something by purpose. That is true.

    Q. I am not stirring things up

    FM: I know, and I answered already.

  16. – Using a forbidden area of the track (Article 30.3). Massa put all four wheels onto the triangular area dividing the track from the pit lane. Cars are not permitted in that area unless there are exceptional circumstances such as a technical failure.

    I did wonder if Massa was being naughty passing Webber using the pit exit lane but I wasn’t sure if it was expressly forbidden in the same way it would be for a car exiting the pits to cut the white line separating the pit exit from the track.

    Given that Massa breached four regulations, I would be tempted to exclude him for consistent ignorance of the regulations, the same as Sato was in Japan 2005.

    That would be extremely harsh but this goes to highlight the lunacy of the stewards at the moment if you follow through with their precedents.

  17. Massa’s decision was correct but if there is critiscm due it is to Hamilton for not closing the corner he was miles off the apex when Massa charged back through before tapping him.

    Hamilton’s penalty on face value doesn’t seem to be entirely correct, unless they nailed him for causing danger to the cars behind him by forcing someone else off the road on a start or something along those lines in which case it still remains highly debatable.

    And the Bourdais penalty I think has been masterminded by Bernie in order to have a closer finish for the last two races :p Again that shouldn’t have been a penalty and you won’t see Gerhard complaining because he likes those shiny Ferrari engines in the back of his car ;)

  18. Read quite a few comments by Massa since the race and it is shocking how arrogant and ignorant he truly is. The accident with Hamilton, for which Massa was penalised, was Hamilton’s fault, apparently. Similarly, the accident with Bourdais was not Massa’s fault either, despite the fact that he drove into the side of the Toro Rosso. If you watch Raikkonen return to the track after his first pit stop of the race, he arrives in the first corner at exactly the same time as Webber. Raikkonen, inside, takes the corner and leads away, Webber realises he has no chance to overtake, from exactly the same position that Massa later comes from against Bourdais, i.e level but on the outside, and relinquishes the place. Both times there was a position at stake, but only Massa seemed to think he had the divine right to cut across. Add these incidents to Valencia, which was not Massa’s fault either, when he expected the Force India to give way to him in the pitlane, and we have built up a fairly impressive list of the arrogant assumptions that Massa takes on all these things. Sooner or later someone will actually have to point out this stupidity to him, before someone gets hurt

  19. In my humble opinion both drivers deserved their penalties, and Bourdais as well….

    It makes for better, cleaner racing in the future
    Excellent race, and Alonso is still showing his class in a crappy car….he is the best driver out there at the mo..

  20. Massa was plumping his resume for NASCAR with that move. Its interesting to see how both Massa and Hamilton lose their poise when the chips are down. They are both young and under a lot of pressure. But, thus the fat checks.

    There is a very real possibility that Kubica could go into Brazil with a very real WDC challenge based on the demonstrated ability of Hamilton and Massa (or his crew) to self-destruct. Given these facts you have to credit Kubica’s slamming his team for not developing the car over the season.

  21. Never heard Massa be that cold (regarding the Autosport moment) but in truth, while a penalty should have been assessed I don’t see how the penalty itself served any real justice. The only way to really make it fair would have been for Hamilton to be allowed to somehow end up back in sixth and we all know that such an arrangement is unrealistic. In GP2, Massa would have collided with Hamilton, ending both their races, so I think there was simply a breach of etiquette in allowing a car that has obviously overtaken you be allowed to get in front; Massa didn’t have to go to the gravel when all he needed to do was lift throttle for an instant.

    Had Hamilton caught him a little sooner, Massa would have had the option of going around on the old asphalt and simply letting Hamilton pass.

  22. Look at it from the last point that Massa had all 4 wheels on the tarmac. He got to that point by Hamilton’s forcing him wide and not by his attack. From that point he could either try to hang in there or back off hard and follow (he was too far in to brake and would have had to cut the corner). A very very marginal call by the stewards.

    Hamilton’s aggression is stupidity, he doesn’t live in a vacuum, there are competitors all around him who will eventually all decide to give him a blood nose. If Raikkonen was doing the right thing by his team, and playing with the same rules Hamilton is bringing in (“he who dares” on ‘roid rage), he would have taken Hamilton out on turn 1 and demanded retribution from the stewards.

  23. In my view, Massa is even more blinkered in his opinion of himself than Hamilton is, as that Q&A on autosport.com that Keith mentioned above shows.

    “Everything I do is correct and unpunishable, everything that everyone else does is wrong”

    Sums it up quite nicely, I think.

  24. Looks like a typical Schumacher-esque manouver to me, he went off, knew he would loose it and drove into hamilton. If he’d have made it infront of hamilton he’d have clearly had to concede before the next corner as both wheel were over the white lines.

    Its just a shame the stewards felt that they couldnt punish Ferrari without punishing Mclaren.

    As for Boudois – **** really, ****?

  25. schumi the greatest
    13th October 2008, 12:19

    i dont understand how massa is claiming hamilton pushed him wide?? can somebody explain that to me?? hamilton is behind him and he just runs wide, there’s no-one else to blame but massa, then seeing he could not keep the place he simply drove into him, he had no right to still be fighting for that corner, this is proven by the fact he hits hamilton at the left………rear

    Drive through penalty for deliberatley ramming someone off the road and a drive through penalty for out braking yourself……..doesnt add up does it

    and the bourdais penalty is the most ridiculous penalty i have ever seen given at a grand prix

  26. OK, I’ll try not to be biased, so let’s start with Hamilton’s mistake at Turn 1. The red mist came down and he made a very immature decision to go up the inside of Raikkonen. His mistake cost him dearly because he flat-spotted his tyres and had to come in to change them, BUT…he didn’t hit anyone and he gained nothing from the manoeuvre – in fact if he’d played it safe he would have been in P2 going into the second corner so he lost a lot of ground as a result of that rush of blood to the head. To get a penalty for it is bizarre though. Doesn’t that sort of thing happen every weekend in every level of motor sport, without penalty?

    Secondly, as far as the Massa Hamilton incident on lap 2 is concerned, Massa got off very lightly and spoilt Hamilton’s race completely. Hamilton lost 12 places as a result of Massa illegally going off the track. Unbelievable. In my humble opinion Massa should get a 5 or 10 place grid penalty on the grid next weekend. Let’s face it, other drivers have grid place penalties for getting in the way of someone else during qualifying, and this was far worse. Did Hamilton force Massa off the track? No. It was Massa’s fault for getting stuck behind Trulli going into the right-hander.

    Thirdly, I feel so sorry for Bourdais. He and STR had a fantastic weekend. Who does Massa think he is? He wasn’t lapping Bourdais. The blue flags weren’t out. They were racing for position and Bourdais had every right to do what he did. I’m not a supporter of the conspiracy theory against McLaren. But for those who do believe that the red cars get preferential treatment, these penalties just add fuel to the flames.

    What can be done? Either…scrap all the rules and say “anything goes” and trust the drivers and teams to not to want to spend millions rebuilding their cars every race. Or…re-write the rule book to include all eventualities and stick to those rules. At the moment the rules are too loose and can be mis-interpreted too easily leading to some of the crazy decisions we’ve had this year.

    I want the race to be decided on the track, not by some stewards or in a court room.

  27. Phil (#19)

    Both times there was a position at stake, but only Massa seemed to think he had the divine right to cut across. Add these incidents to Valencia, which was not Massa’s fault either, when he expected the Force India to give way to him in the pitlane, and we have built up a fairly impressive list of the arrogant assumptions that Massa takes on all these things. Sooner or later someone will actually have to point out this stupidity to him, before someone gets hurt

    It does remind me somewhat of Davidsons comments during the British GP when Massa was being lapped about Massas attitude towards backmarkers. He basically does expect everyone to lay out the red carpet for him, and it appears that it doesn’t matter whether those backmarkers actually have position on you on the track.

  28. Why did the stewards not impose the drive through penalty for Bourdais, within the 16 laps they had after the incident, but waited till the race was over and impose a non negotiable penalty?

  29. A simple question.

    Why on earth Hekki didn’t receive a penalty for the same reasons Lewis did? That’s the same. Was it because he retired meanwhile? Well the could have imposed him a 10 place penalty in China.

    That’s very suspect to me. They felt the need to punish Hamilton but not Kovalainen?

  30. BUT…he didn’t hit anyone and he gained nothing from the manoeuvre – in fact if he’d played it safe he would have been in P2 going into the second corner so he lost a lot of ground as a result of that rush of blood to the head.

    I wish people would start realising that it doesn’t matter if he lost out by it, it was the effect it had on other drivers. It potentially cost Raikkonen a race win (the 2 driver that got past the Hamilton incident went on to lead most of the race). I think that was one of the points that was taken into account when Hamilton was issued with his penalty.

  31. MC & Kester – loads of points about the turn one incident are covered here: Hamilton and Raikkonen’s Fuji clash – the penalty they got wrong (Video)

  32. Stop with these ridiculous rules and let them race. They got wrong every single penalty and that’s include the Bourdais x Massa.

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