On the final lap of the Russian Grand Prix, Felipe Massa found himself in the uncomfortable position of being lapped by the leaders, who were in a fight for the win, separated by less than a second.
Massa was quick to get out of the way of the leading Mercedes of Bottas, but at first, appeared a little less motivated to let Vettel through in the chasing Ferrari. Vettel was quick to speak over team radio, saying,
“what was that?”
– Sebastian Vettel
He was clearly frustrated by Massa’s Williams. When the Brazilian was informed of Vettel’s complaint, he responded over team radio with,
“He was on his radio? He’s never on his radio complaining, no? Are you sure?”
– Felipe Massa
Super sarcasm points for Massa, but when asked about the incident more seriously after the race, he pointed out that he believed Vettel had been too cautious in his attempt to lap the Williams car, which eventually finished the race in 9th.
“I left completely the inside part for him. I backed off before in corner four, he didn’t want to go. I saw he was afraid to dive on the inside, I was completely on the left.
And then I let him by straight away afterwards. So anyway I am also sure that he was not going to pass Valtteri in the last lap of the race, I’m pretty much sure.”
– Felipe Massa
It was clear that Vettel’s racing line was compromised and despite falling 1.4s behind bottas, he was able to get closer in the final sector, an area that Ferrari have been on top of all weekend, and finish the race with a 0.6s margin to Bottas ahead.
Did it cost Vettel the win? Probably not, the Finn wasn’t about to make it an easy pass for the German driver. There hasn’t been any sign of an investigation by the stewards, so they clearly feel that Massa did enough in letting the Ferrari through.