24 November 2013
Brazilian Grand Prix: Penalty for Massa was 'extreme'
Ferrari's hopes of overhauling Mercedes for second place in the constructors championship took a final blow with a drive-thru penalty for Felipe Massa in his final race for the team.
Felipe Massa's ambition of finishing his tenure at Ferrari on a high were dealt a mortal blow when he was handed a drive-thru penalty for cutting the white line at the entrance to pit lane during the Brazilian Grand Prix.
As well as denying Massa the chance of a strong finish before his home fans in Interlagos, the penalty also cost Ferrari the chance of overhauling Mercedes for second place in the constructors championship.
"For Felipe it was over when he was handed a penalty," said team principal Stefano Domenicali. "Which honestly I find a bit extreme and forced, because I don't think Felipe's move gave him any advantage. With the points he could have scored the outcome of the constructors championship could have been different."
During the race when he had been informed by race engineer Rob Smedley of the drive-thru and what it was for, Massa has fumed: "Unbelievable! Unbelievable! Unacceptable!" and he was no less adamant an hour later in parc ferme after the race.
"I don't think I deserved a drive-thru and I believe it was very unfair," insisted Massa. "I didn't do anything wrong. I didn't overtake cars outside the track or hold anyone up. It was really a shame."
Massa took aim at the race stewards who had imposed the penalty, and didn't hold back. "These guys they think they have all the power and they can do all they want," he said. "It was pretty unacceptable. I'm sure I was not the only car that crossed that line, but I was the only car that got a drive-through for that."
"I am very disappointed because today I could have finished fourth or third," he added. "I am sure that if I had found myself behind Fernando, he'd have let me pass. However, I don't want this incident to ruin such a special weekend for me and all my team."
“My race began perfectly, with a great start and then a strong pace that allowed me to immediately pull of some nice passing moves and I was having a really great race up until the moment I was given a penalty for crossing the white line," he said.
This weekend's race is also Massa's final outing with Ferrari before he moves to Williams in 2014, and he used the opportunity to thank everyone at Maranallo as well a the fans who had supported him throughout his career. In their eyes, I am a world champion and I will never forget them, nor anything about my time with Ferrari," he said.
"I want to thank everyone who gave me this opportunity and maximum support all the time, including President Montezemolo, Stefano Domenicali and all the mechanics and engineers who work at the track and back home, as well as all the Ferrari fans who, over the years, have rejoiced with me and also suffered with me during the most difficult moments. Thank you!”
Massa's words were reciprocated by his team mate Fernando Alonso, clearly sad to see his long-time colleague exit the squad.
"He has been an amazing team-mate – inside the circuit with very competitive skills and also like a person," said the Spaniard. "We built a friendly relationship in the last four years, a lot of time together. We'll see him in the paddock next year with different colours but always he will remain a very good man.
"I will miss the relationship we have had," Alonso added. "I wish him all the best for the future."
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