World title contender Felipe Massa has vehemently denied that he deliberately clipped rival Lewis Hamilton’s car during Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Hamilton started the race in pole position and was vying for the lead at the first turn. Taking the first corner too quickly, the Brit dropped down the field before being forced into the pits after a collision with Massa’s Ferrari car.
The 23-year-old McLaren man was unable to recover ground and finished outside the points in 12th place. Massa finished seventh, picking up two vital points to close the gap on championship leader Hamilton to five points.
An angry Hamilton said: "I took the corner as normally as always and left room, but Massa hit me pretty hard.
"I think it was pretty much as deliberate as can be."
Massa, who was awarded a drive-through penalty as a result, said: "I did not hit him deliberately. I can’t believe he sees it that way. He braked too late and just pushed me off the track.
"I have a good relationship with Lewis and I will not do something to destroy something by purpose."
Renault’s Fernando Alonso won the race, with Robert Kubica in second place and Kimi Raikkonen finishing third.
Written by James Christie