• German Grand Prix

Wheel nut costs Massa fourth

ESPNF1 Staff
July 24, 2011 « Petrov wants answers | »
Felipe Massa passed both Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel on track © Getty Images

Felipe Massa said that a sticking wheel nut allowed Sebastian Vettel to overtake him for fourth place in the pits on the final lap of the German Grand Prix.

Massa had been holding off Vettel's challenge for much of the second half of the race and appeared to have done enough when the pair pitted for medium tyres together at the end of the penultimate lap. Vettel, however, left the pits first to take the position and Massa said he had been delayed by a wheel nut problem, but refused to complain about the pit stop error.

"Sure, I would have preferred to have stayed ahead of the World Champion right to the end," Massa said. "But at the final pit stop there was a problem with the wheel nut on the left rear which cost me a few seconds: these things happen and recrimination achieves nothing."

Despite the problem, Massa said he had enjoyed the close battle with Vettel, and believed that losing out to Nico Rosberg at the start of the race cost him the opportunity to stay with the leaders.

"It was a good race, in which I went head to head with Vettel for many laps. A shame about the time lost at the start behind Rosberg: the Mercedes is one of the hardest cars to overtake because it is very quick on the straights. The DRS was not a big help here, to such an extent that I passed him and Vettel under braking for Turn 1 where you cannot use the moveable wing.

"I got away well at the start, but then Vettel closed the line on the inside and I tried to go round the outside, because there was nowhere else to go if I wanted to make up some places. In fact I actually lost one to Rosberg."