Sébastien Bourdais has hit out at Felipe Massa following the pair's contentious collision in the Japanese Grand Prix today, claiming the Ferrari driver showed him no respect and 'behaved like I didn't exist'.
Bourdais and Massa crossed swords on lap 51 of the 67-lap race around Fuji Speedway, as the former exited the pit-lane and the latter headed down towards the first corner. As the Ferrari and Scuderia Toro Rosso ran briefly side-by-side, Massa seemed to squeeze Bourdais until the two cars made contact, sending the scarlet machine spinning.
Whilst most observers pinned the blame for the coming-together squarely at Massa's feet, it was Bourdais who was penalised 25 seconds by FIA stewards, dropping him from sixth in the final standings to tenth – and denying him what would have been his third points-scoring result and highest finish to-date of his rookie season in the top flight in what STR team principal Franz Tost described as his 'best race ever for us'.
Whilst Massa has protested his innocence over the matter – claiming the Frenchman was 'a little bit too optimistic on the inside; I was turning into the corner and then he hit me coming out of the pits, and to me it was completely wrong' [see separate story – click here
] – an understandably furious Bourdais disagreed.
“I did everything I could not to run into him,” the record-breaking multiple Champ Car king is quoted as having insisted by international news agency Reuters
. “He just squeezed and turned and behaved like I didn't exist, like I wasn't there. What am I supposed to do?
“I was coming out of the pits, he turned in, I was on the kerb and there was nowhere else I could go. I was racing him for position.
“For me it's very clear – yes, I exit the pits, yes I'm supposed to be careful and I was. I stayed inside and I didn't push him out; I didn't overshoot the corner.
“I've been in this position many, many times and I never had any incidents. It's just a little bit of respect. You give each other room and then everything goes right but if you don't, there's going to be an incident.”
Indeed, the contre-temps
was not Massa's first controversial incident during the grand prix, the Brazilian having earlier earned himself a drive-through penalty after sending McLaren-Mercedes Formula 1 World Championship rival Lewis Hamilton into a spin on just lap two.