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Massa sympathises with Lewis, Kimi.

Felipe Massa has suggested that, while he feels some sympathy for Formula One title rival Lewis Hamilton, the Briton could maybe have handled his recovery from a trip across the Bus Stop chicane a little more sportingly - and, therefore, kept his victory.

The Brazilian, who revealed that he was about to leave the circuit when he learned that he had been promoted to first place by a stewards' decision to penalise Hamilton for 'gaining an unfair advantage' by not following the road at the final corner two laps from home, was not in position to win on the track, having failed to live with either Hamilton or Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, but was gifted victory when the McLaren man was handed a retrospective 25-second penalty.

Massa had already inherited second place when Raikkonen spun out in increasingly tricky conditions brought on by late-race rain, but was facing an extended eight-point world championship deficit, with five rounds remaining, when news of the stewards' decision reached him.

"A few hours after standing on the podium, I learned that I had actually been declared the winner," he revealed, "I was in the team motorhome, saying goodbye to everyone and getting ready to leave the circuit, when [team principal] Stefano Domenicali informed me that the stewards had penalised Lewis for his overtaking move on Kimi and that I was now the winner.

"I drove my race to finish, thinking about the championship situation - and I did the right thing, because I gained one place after Kimi's crash and then, after the race, came another move up the finish order. I am happy with that because the championship is really open now."

Despite his obvious enthusiasm for being moved closer to Hamilton in the points race, Massa still showed signs of sympathising with his rival after what was, essentially, a racing incident. However, he did admit that the Briton could perhaps have handled the situation a little more wisely.

"Immediately after the podium ceremony, we knew the incident was under investigation and my first reaction was to find out what had actually happened, as I didn't see it when I was on the track," he commented.

"What Lewis did is the sort of thing that can happen, but I think he was maybe a bit too optimistic in thinking he could just hand back the position, albeit only partially, to Kimi and then immediately try and pass him again.

"Incidents like this have often been discussed in the official driver briefings, when it has been made absolutely clear that anyone cutting a chicane has to fully restore the position and also any other eventual advantage gained. If Lewis had taken the chicane correctly, he would never have been able to pass Kimi on the very short straight that follows it. That was my immediate opinion after seeing the replay.

"Maybe if he had waited and tried to pass on the next straight, that would have been a different matter."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-23, Belgian F1 Grand Prix, Spa Francorchamps, 5-7th, September, 2008
23.03.2017 - detail  Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
23.03.2017 - detail  Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
23.03.2017 - detail  Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
23.03.2017 - detail  Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
23.03.2017 - Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL) McLaren MCL32
23.03.2017 - Mattia Binotto (ITA) Chief Technical Officer, Scuderia Ferrari and Maurizio Arrivabene (ITA) Ferrari Team Principal
23.03.2017 - Maurizio Arrivabene (ITA) Ferrari Team Principal
23.03.2017 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL32
23.03.2017 - Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
23.03.2017 - detail  McLaren MCL32
23.03.2017 - detail  Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
23.03.2017 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40 helmet
23.03.2017 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40 helmet
23.03.2017 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40 helmet
23.03.2017 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40 helmet
23.03.2017 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40 helmet
23.03.2017 - The helmet of Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H

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