|© AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama
With his future in Formula 1 still in question, Felipe Massa defied team orders during the Japanese Grand Prix but incurred no wrath from his team.
Massa was ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso during the early stages of the race at Suzuka, prompting the Brazilian’s race engineer Rob Smedley to issue the directive "Multi-function strategy A – now, please".
But Massa continued to hold position before Alonso overtook him on lap 20 on the track, although the Spaniard had no qualms with the incident.
"We cannot make a big thing about it," Alonso was quoted saying by AFP. "I don't know exactly what happened, but zero problems. We are trying to do our best – Felipe, me, the team – to score as many points as possible.”
“It's never easy when are fighting for seventh, eighth place,” he continued. "It would be nice to go back to the old days in Ferrari, fighting for first and second and deciding who wins the races, like Red Bull does."
Massa refused to dwell on the situation as well.
"It was an instruction," he said. "We're never happy with instructions... We fought on the track.”
Compounded with a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane, Massa finished the Japanese GP in tenth place while Alonso came home in fourth.
"I can understand his feeling. The team will totally support him until the end of the season, no problem," added team principal Stefano Domenicali.