Felipe Massa has found how quickly it is possible to go from darling to demon among Ferrari fans, after being pilloried for his reaction to Fernando Alonso's race-winning move at the Nurburgring on Sunday.

The Brazilian had led through most of the rain-affected European Grand Prix, but the faster McLaren closed remorselessly in the final stages, before Alonso forced his way into the lead, banging wheels with Massa at turn five. Unable to do anything to redress the balance on track, Massa took his grievance to the post-race ceremonies, complaining about the move in the press conference - but only after a heated verbal exchange with the double world champion ahead of the podium celebration.

A day after the race, the Italian press yesterday turned on the double race winner, accusing him of bad sportsmanship towards his rival who, they claim, had beaten him fair and square.

"Super Alonso gives a lesson to Massa," read Gazzetta dello Sport's headline on an article that claimed that 'nothing can justify the reaction of Massa' who, it suggested, needed to realise that he was no match for Alonso in the wet. Corriere della Serra also concluded that Massa had reacted badly to the situation, but reserved some criticism for Alonso, claiming that the Spaniard was prone to over-reaction to his own success.

"The Spaniard is a champion, and an intelligent boy, but has a certain disposition to act in front of the cameras and [carry] a bit of hysteria in some moments," it suggested.

Both newspapers, and others including La Stampa and La Repubblica remarked on the use of Italian as the common tongue chosen by the two drivers - and the fact that they had learned to insult each other in a language not native to either.



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