Magnanimous Massa - German GP 2010

Magnanimous Massa - German GP 2010

'Ok, Alonso is faster than you, do you understand?' That is what Felipe Massa heard over the radio as he started lap 48. His race engineer Rob Smedley had been told by his boss to do the dirty work, and instruct the amiable Brazilian to let his tempestuous team mate through to take the win. And thus keep his championship hopes alive.

With Vettel again making a mess of his getaway from pole, and having to take avoiding action to stop Alonso getting the jump on him down to turn one, Massa took the opportunity to sail around the outside and into the lead for the first time in over a year!

It must have felt great to be leading a race again after so long, and to be keeping your team mate at bay, when he had been faster all weekend.

As we know, Alonso likes to get his own way, and why not: it's pretty much the only way to become World Champion.

As the leaders started their 21st lap, they came across one of the HRT cars into turn two. This momentarily held up Massa, allowing Alonso to get a run on him down to the hairpin. Massa, who had been locking up both his front and rears wheels since changing tyres a few laps earlier, held the Spaniard at bay causing Alonso to radio back to the team: 'This is ridiculous'. A sure message to the team that he felt he was quicker and it was time to let him through.

Who knows what is written into the contracts of both Ferrari drivers, and who cares? But whatever it is, it was time for it to be enacted.

Exiting the hairpin, Massa slowed, allowing Alonso through and onto his second win of the year.

A few more transmissions from his engineer ended with a emphatic 'sorry' and as the Brazilian came to the end of his slowing down lap, Smedley came on the radio again to praise his driver's 'magnanimous' gesture. One sensed that Rob had hated every bit of those last 19 laps as much as Felipe.

There then followed the expected grilling by the media, which preceded a trip to the stewards office and more questions.

A year ago to the day, Felipe nearly departed this life, leaving behind his soul in the child growing in his wife Rafaela's body. It would have been a touching gesture to allow him his win with eight races still to go.

Every point counts in winning Championships, so having a team mate who is prepared to play the team game is invaluable.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why Felipe touched the void and returned. Maybe it's the reason why he was given the two-year contract; and of course there's Felipe Massa Jnr who needs a dad he can be proud of.

'You won't know what that word means,' joked Smedley, but I'm sure Felipe now knows what his gesture is called in English. Magnanimous indeed...

To enjoy my images from the German Grand Prix, please visit the formula 1 section of my website and select Germany.

posted on 26th July 2010 12:00amview comments (2)leave a comment