'Crashgate' robbed me of title, claims Massa

Felipe Massa believes that the 2008 F1 title fight could have worked out differently had it not been for Renault's antics at the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix.
'Crashgate' robbed me of title, claims Massa

Felipe Massa has suggested that a different outcome to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix could have seen him acclaimed as F1 world champion rather than Lewis Hamilton.

Two weeks after Sebastian Vettel claimed his maiden F1 win with Toro Rosso at Monza, the Brazilian headed to the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix just one point behind Hamilton in the title race. However, by the end of the race, which he had been leading from pole, the margin had stretched to seven points in Hamilton's favour after a hasty pit-stop under the safety car called for Nelson Piquet Jr's 'accident' saw the Ferrari leave with its fuel hose still attached...

The margin after the Interlagos finale was a single point, emphasising Massa's feelings of frustration as the high point of a career spent largely in the shadow of team-mates was denied the ultimate accolade.

"I would prefer to be world champion forever, not just for 40 seconds," he smiled while meeting journalists on the eve of his final Japanese Grand Prix for Ferrari, "But it's like that. Maybe I had the most incredible final race of the championship ever as well.

"I'm sure people will remember me, [but] what happened in Singapore is unacceptable. What happened there is like in football, where you have some matches where [one team] pays the referee. It's the same situation, [and] a situation that no driver likes to pass through. It's something you really feel - not just me, but the team - but it's part of life. We cannot go back."

The following season, while not necessarily the same force on track in the face of Brawn's early domination and Red Bull's rise to prominence, Massa suffered near-fatal head injuries after being struck by a spring from Rubens Barrichello's car during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Although he returned to the fray the following season, he has yet to add to the eleven race wins he took with Ferrari and has been largely used as a wingman to Fernando Alonso in the seasons since.

For 2014, he will be racing somewhere else, maybe in F1 with a team other than the Scuderia, or maybe in the US or his native Brazil, but Massa insists that he has no regrets from his time in the top flight.

"I have zero frustration in my career," he claimed, "I had an incredible career that I never believed I was going to have. I am a very happy man."

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