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)”

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  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 SebastiĆ©n 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..

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