Felipe Massa has struck a defiant stance against his failure to heed Williams team orders in the Malaysia GP and insisted he “did the right thing” in not letting Valtteri Bottas overtake him.
Twelve months on from the Red Bull and Mercedes team orders rows that overshadowed last year’s grand prix at Sepang, Massa found himself at the centre of a spat in just his second race for Williams heading into the closing stages of Sunday’s 56-lap race.
Having caught but been unable to pass the McLaren of Jenson Button for sixth place into the closing stint, Massa was instructed by the pitlane to cede position to fast-oncoming team-mate Bottas so the Finn, whose tyres were two laps fresher, could launch an attack of his own on the former World Champion.
Williams – Massa didn’t ignore team orders
“Okay Felipe, Valtteri is faster than you – do not hold him up,” Massa was told over the radio by his race engineer on lap 53.
But having failed to yield to the sister car after the first call, the Brazilian was then told a lap later that “Valtteri has better tyres, we need to let him go. Do not hold him up.”