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Felipe Massa says he gave Sebastian Vettel enough room to pass him cleanly on the final lap of a tense Russian Grand Prix, though the Ferrari man argues the delay did cost him a shot at defeating Valtteri Bottas.

Vettel put in a marvellous late race charge in Sochi to bring a five seconds gap down to Bottas after the pit-stop to almost nothing as they began the final lap almost line astern but approaching traffic.

However, Vettel's hopes of mounting a surprise last lap lunge would ultimately be scuppered when Bottas managed to get ahead of former Williams team-mate Massa - running ninth - cleanly on the run to Turn 2, with Vettel unable to follow suit until Turn 4.

Getting onto the radio to express his frustration at the Brazilian's action, Massa laughed off the complaints, saying it is something many have come to expect from the four-time champion.

"He is always on his radio complaining," he joked. "I left completely the inside part for him, I backed off before corner 4 and he did not want to go. I saw that he was afraid to dive inside, I was completely on the left and I let him by straight away after. Complaining he likes to do!"

Vettel, however, remains of the opinion that Massa cost him the margin he needed to attempt a move on Bottas at the end of the back straight.

"It did cost me, yes. First of all he handed a very pleasant tow to Valtteri at the start of the last lap and I wasn't in the DRS which was tough enough to do and then he let him by. I don't know if he knew there was another car coming.

He did [leave me room] into turn four, but he could have lifted into turn three and let me drive around the outside... either way, my line into four was compromised. We are racing drivers, before that I have 10 laps where I am flat out trying everything I can to get into the DRS and chase him down. I just about succeeded a couple of laps to go and then the last lap I was hoping maybe I could in the middle sector where we are strong get close on the back straight but then Felipe did him a favour twice."

Regardless, while Vettel admits he was initially irked by the incident, he believes Bottas could have held his own in defence anyway.

"It cost me a bit of time but that is what it is with backmarkers... initially I was a bit angry but I think Valtteri was that much in control he had it anyway."

 

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