Towards the latter stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix, we heard team radio to Felipe Massa instructing the Brazilian driver that his teammate was faster than him, and that he shouldn’t hold him up. Whilst eerily reminiscent of calls Massa received in his Ferrari days, the result was slightly different as he didn’t give up the position, keeping Valtteri Bottas behind him.
Bottas refused to be drawn into a public battle about it, but was confident he could have challenged Jenson Button for sixth place. Massa defended his right to ignore the call, saying: “I heard everything but it was not clear. What I did was correct, I’m trying to do my best for the team and that’s the most important thing.”
The team also admitted they had a plan to switch the drivers back if Bottas hadn’t been able to make progress, with chief engineer Rod Nelson explaining: “Felipe was running fairly high temperatures on his engine and we were a little bit concerned about it, Valtteri had much fresher tyres than Jenson did.”
Nelson says that Massa didn’t do what they asked, but that it was addressed in the post-race debrief and they have all moved on.
Filed under F1Minute
References Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Valtteri Bottas
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