Ferrari has moved to downplay the radio call from engineer Rob Smedley to Felipe Massa during the Singapore Grand Prix, in which he told the Brazilian to 'destroy his [Lewis Hamilton's] race as much as we can'.”
The radio call [see separate story HERE
] emerged in the official F1 edit of the Singapore Grand Prix and provided a fresh twist to the events of the race weekend, where the two drivers clashed on track in both qualifying and on race day before Massa then confronted Hamilton following the chequered flag.
However, Ferrari has now moved to downplay Smedley's comments and insisted that there was no malicious intent in what was said even if the wording chosen wasn't the most 'politically correct'.
In a 'Horse Whisperer' column published on the Ferrari website, the team also revealed that the call was made on the eleventh lap of the race, just before the pair pitted together for the first time.
“Words, words, words,” the column read. “Reading some of the English daily papers, it seems the Horse Whisperer is not alone in having his thoughts turn to William Shakespeare when he stumbled across the polemical mountain made out of the molehill that was the phrase delivered by Rob Smedley during the Singapore Grand Prix.
“It's true that Felipe Massa's race engineer was caught up in the heat of the moment and chose to use the verb “destroy” at some point. It might not have been the most politically correct choice of word, but it definitely carried no malicious intent, especially when you take into account that Rob is a Middlesbrough lad, born and bred! It is also true that this exhortation to Felipe came at the exit to turn five on lap eleven of the race, at the end of which both the Ferrari man and Hamilton were due to come in to the pits together. In other words, it had nothing to do with the collision between Felipe and Lewis that happened on the following lap.
“It would not have taken much to avoid this misunderstanding, but that's what happens in the frenetic world of Formula 1. When all is said done, as the Bard of Avon himself might have put it, it was all much ado about nothing.”