Massa vs Hamilton round 5 – who’s at fault now?

Today’s Indian Grand Prix saw the latest spat between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa – both on and off track.

The pair collided while racing for 6th position, leaving Felipe with a drive-through penalty and Lewis with a broken front wing. Hamilton has borne the brunt of blame for most of their collisions this year, most notably in Monaco.

However, this time the McLaren driver is not 100% at fault, as both drivers made poor judgement:

Felipe Massa

Replays showed the Ferrari driver checking his mirrors several times, so there is no doubt that he was aware that Hamilton was closing in. The fact that Felipe continued to turn in was more than likely an estimation that the McLaren wouldn’t attempt a pass – a poor decision considering who he was racing against.

Massa was dealt the drive-through for the incident, but protested his innocence afterwards:

"I simply stayed on the ideal line, braking on the limit and staying on the part of 
the track that was rubbered in. What else could I do?

It’s the umpteenth time that Hamilton runs into me this year and it seems it’s some 
sort of fatal attraction. In the past, I tried to talk to him but he did not seem to 
be interested in doing so."

The Ferrari team have also suggested that the collision contributed towards Felipe’s suspension failure, which is of course absolute rubbish.

Lewis Hamilton

Never the one to stay out of trouble, Lewis is back in the headlines for the wrong reasons once again.

After being docked three places on the grid for ignoring yellow flags on Friday, Hamilton’s weekend was already compromised. The collision with Massa came after a very poor first stint, where the McLaren driver failed to make any progress from 7th.

It was a slightly ambitious move that presumed that Massa would give him space – which of course he didn’t. Lewis will of course argue that he had every right to move up the inside and attempt a pass, which is true. However, he failed to place his car in between Massa and the kerb, backing off slightly as the two cars entered the corner. This resulted in the Ferrari cutting across Lewis and causing the crash.

The most interesting thing I found about the crash was Hamilton’s reaction immediately afterwards. After he gestured towards the Ferrari, he continued to slow for several seconds before he got back on the throttle. To me, it seemed as if he didn’t even care about the race for a while, being incredibly frustrated after this many accidents.

In my opinion…

While Lewis could have judged his move better, I feel that Felipe gave him absolutely no opportunity to make a move. Hamilton has been lambasted for his off-form driving this year – and rightly so – but this incident should not be blamed on the Brit.

The more I look into these past collisions,the more childish Massa appears to me. While it is understandable that a driver would be furious after a collision, it is immature to say that they “don’t care” about what the other driver feels about the incident (referring to minor tap by Hamilton in Suzuka).

However, the most important thing out of this is that it doesn’t turn into a juvenile clash-fest every single race. These drivers should realise that F1 is supposed to be the collection of the finest racing drivers in the world, and should at least attempt to resolve their conflict. Not that many see that happening, of course.

Who do you hold at fault for today’s collision? Here is a replay:

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