Felipe Massa explained why he split race leaders Lewis Hamilton and Max Vertappen when they lapped him at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix.
The Williams driver let Hamilton past on the pit straight as the final lap began but waited until the exit of the Dunlop curve, turn seven, before allowing Verstappen by. The delay to Verstappen allowed Hamilton to draw clear.
“The problem is that I let Lewis by on the straight and then you had so many Esses,” Massa explained after the race.
“I was behind Lewis, losing being very close to him so I was going to let Max past after corner seven, which is what I did. So at the end when I get to sector one it is very difficult to park the car, I was fighting with Fernando [Alonso] as well.”
“I understand that maybe it was the last lap a nice fight for you guys to see on the television but I did maybe five corners, one after the other and then I let him by.”
Massa was in a similar situation on the last lap at the Russian Grand Prix earlier this year. On that occasion he frustrated Sebastian Vettel by separating him from race leader Valtteri Bottas.
The Williams driver finished tenth today but was disappointed with his car’s performance in the race.
“One point is better than zero,” he said. “We finished head of Renault and Toro Rosso. But definitely I was struggling during the whole race.”
“We did not have the pace in the car. And I’m so disappointed for that. We need to understand why but degradation on the tyres was too high, just fighting with the tyres the whole race.”