Formula One: Massa refuses to blame crew for pit disaster

SINGAPORE, Sept 29, 2008 (AFP) – Ferrari world title contender Felipe Massa had a disastrous Singapore Grand Prix Sunday but refused to blame the mechanic who ruined his race.

The Brazilian, ahead of rival Lewis Hamilton at the time after 15 laps, was given the green light to leave the pits but the fuel hose was still attached as he accelerated away, spraying petrol and knocking over one of the pit crew.

Massa ended up sitting in his Ferrari at the end of the pit lane as the crew frantically ran after him and managed to pull the hose free.

But he was given a drive-through penalty for almost hitting another car as he drove away and rejoined in 18th place, ending any hope he had of making the points.

Despite the disaster, he was philosophical.

“We could have finished first and second and it could have been different,” he said as he slipped seven points behind Hamilton in the drivers’ standings with three races left after the Briton finished third.

“It is hard to deal with losing in this fashion a race that was within our grasp with a car that was just the way I wanted it.

“But things can change in a moment and that’s what happened today.

“We are all human beings, everyone makes mistakes. I am not the sort of person who goes to a guy and fights with him.

“So I went to the guy and gave him even more motivation because we need him and we need everybody together for the last three races of the season.”

It was a race to forget for Ferrari with defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen failing to finish after ramming his car into the barriers with just four laps left when he was fifth.

“A black day, there’s little else to day. We are very disappointed but that doesn’t mean we are downtrodden,” Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali told reporters, brushing aside suggestions the mechanic would be reprimanded.

“You try to be quick, try to find the right slot for the car to be released,” he said.

“It is a difficult moment. We have to have a lot of respect for these guys, who are not top drivers but are part of us.”

David Coulthard in a Red Bull had a similar pit-stop blunder with his fuel hose also left on and a mechanic hurt, although his crew resolved the issue quickly.


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