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Button should have known to let me back past, says Massa

4 April 2011

Felipe Massa has hit out at Jenson Button in the wake of their on-track tussle in the F1 2011 curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne just over a week ago, saying the former world champion 'is experienced enough' to know what he should have done 'without having to wait for the team to tell him'.

Massa got ahead of Button off the line Down Under, and henceforth proceeded to frustrate his McLaren-Mercedes rival's every ambition to find a way past. Matters came to a head when the British ace finally succeeded in overtaking the Ferrari on lap ten, but in so doing, he cut the Turn Twelve chicane of the Albert Park Street Circuit.

The ensuing delay allowed Fernando Alonso in the sister 150° Italia to similarly nip past his team-mate, meaning that if Button was to cede position again to Massa, he would also need to lose a place to the Spaniard. As it was, the Scuderia pitted Alonso at the end of the lap and Massa a lap later again – and McLaren's request to FIA stewards for advice fell upon deaf ears, resulting in a drive-through penalty for 'JB' and leaving team principal Martin Whitmarsh feeling 'harshly treated' as the prospect of seeing both of his drivers up on the podium vanished before his eyes [see separate story – click here].

Massa, however, is adamant that Button had nobody but himself to blame for ignoring the rules.

“I expected him to give back the position after he got by,” the Brazilian reflected. “The rules are clear [that] you must do this if you cut a chicane, and Jenson is experienced enough to know that without having to wait for the team to tell him what to do.

“After he got by, Alonso also got past me as I ended up being quite slow because of the fight with Jenson. Given that Fernando pitted before me, that left Jenson with another chance to give me back the position, but he did not.”


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