• Indian Grand Prix

Herbert insists Massa deserved penalty

ESPNF1 Staff
November 1, 2011 « iSport confirms Ericsson for 2012 | Consistency key to beating Red Bull - Button »
Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton collided once again in India © Sutton Images

The FIA driver stewards at the Indian Grand Prix Johnny Herbert insists Felipe Massa deserved the drive-through penalty he received for his part in the collision with Lewis Hamilton during the Indian Grand Prix.

Hamilton used KERS to pull alongside Massa on the approach to turn five, and attempted to pass up the inside after Massa moved to the right. However, Massa cut across the front of Hamilton and the pair collided for the sixth time this season, with the McLaren having to pit for a new front wing. Massa was penalised but was infuriated by the decision, saying he took the normal racing line and it was not at fault.

Herbert, however, wrote in his column for The National that Massa received the penalty because he appeared to yield the corner to Hamilton.

"The decision to penalise Felipe Massa for his contact with Lewis Hamilton came down to one simple fact - it could have been avoided," Herbert said. "I know Massa was upset by our decision, but I believe we made the right call. We looked at replays to see if a punishment should be given for the incident. After looking at it from different camera angles and studying all the data available to us, it was clear that Massa knew where Hamilton was before he chose to turn across him.

"You could see that Massa looked in his side mirror, so he knew Hamilton was on his left as they approached the left-hand turn. It appeared he was giving up the corner as he moved wide to the right, effectively opening the door for Hamilton to go down the inside on the left. Only, Massa swept across in front of him, leading to contact."

Herbert also said that the incident was unavoidable from Hamilton's point of view despite him trying to pull out of the attempt, and that if Massa had defended the inside line it would have been a different story.

"There was nothing Hamilton could have done to avoid it. He did try to get out of the move, but it was too late and the contact was made. If Massa had not gone wide - that would have been a different scenario altogether. If there had been contact then, the blame would have been Hamilton's."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
ESPN Staff Close