Hamilton & Dennis Accuse Massa of Deliberate Move

Needless to say, Ron Dennis was anything but happy after the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday. Following a questionable penalty handed to Lewis Hamilton by the race stewards in the early stages of the race, the British driver basically lost every chance of scoring points at Mount Fuji. And McLaren's principal could not disagree more with the way Hamilton's incident was looked into by the Japanese officials.

“Any experienced motor-racing person sees it as a racing incident. First corner incidents like that are absolutely commonplace in Grand Prix racing. There's nothing unusual about it. Everybody's on tires that haven't got up to full operating temperature and people leave their braking late and that's what happens. There was no intent to what goes on in these corners, because most of the time when people make those sorts of mistakes, they are the ones that are penalized”, said Dennis.

Following a poor start from pole, Hamilton was close to regaining his lead advantage over Kimi Raikkonen as early as Turn 1, when he chose to make a wide exit and force the Finn out of the track. After the race stewards investigated the incident closely, Hamilton was given a drive-through penalty.

In the meantime, though, the McLaren driver made an attempt to overtake title rival Felipe Massa for 5th place but was forced into a spin after the Brazilian closed in on the inside. As it turned out, Hamilton's driving around the track until being handed the penalty was time well spent, as the above-mentioned maneuver got Massa a drive-through penalty of his own later in the race.

As for how deliberate was Massa's move on Hamilton, all McLaren voices seem to speak the same language. “He outbraked me so I didn't get past him on the way in. I did the corner normally and he came back very aggressively and hit me. I think that was pretty much as deliberate as can be”, said a frustrated Hamilton after the race.

Dennis later continued on the same note: “Everybody saw the same TV images that I saw. He was off the road and he drove back on into the side of Lewis. It's as simple as that and it's there for everyone to see. Felipe made a huge mistake going in, he ran completely wide and Lewis went on the inside and was 100% on the circuit all the time”.

Massa went on to clinch 7th place – thanks to another questionable decision by the race stewards that saw 6th place Sebastien Bourdais demoted to 10th place – and close the gap on Hamilton in the overall standings to only 5 points. In the manufacturers' classification, Ferrari regained top spot thanks to Raikkonen's podium finish and now sit 7 points clear of McLaren with two races to go.
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