McLaren’s ruthless response to Felipe Massa over Lewis Hamilton’s title win

Michelle Foster
Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton at the pre-race photo call for the 2008 finale in Brazil.

Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton.

McLaren have been blunt in letting Felipe Massa know what they think of his claim the 2008 World title should be his, telling the Brazilian “denial is a river in Egypt”.

Massa went up against then McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton for the 2008 World Championship with the Briton winning it by a single point thanks to a last-lap-of-the-season pass on Timo Glock that gave him the point needed to overhaul Massa who’d won the race. Massa, World Champion for 39 seconds, was gutted.

But the former Ferrari driver’s lingering disappointment over losing that title was ramped up in recent weeks when former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone revealed he and then FIA president Max Mosley knew that season already that Nelson Piquet Jr had been ordered by Renault to deliberately crash to set up Fernando Alonso for the win at the Singapore Grand Prix.

That Sunday, Massa had been leading the race when the Safety Car came out for Piquet Jr’s crash, Alonso, who had already pitted, elevated to P1 when his rivals, including Massa and Lewis Hamilton who had yet to stop, came in for their pit stops.

Ferrari had a nightmare pit stop as they released Massa with the fuel hose still attached to his car. Adding insult to injury they also released him into the path of another car and he was slapped with a 10-second time penalty for an unsafe release. He finished well outside the points in 13th place while Hamilton was on the podium in third place.

However Ecclestone, having admitted to knowing about Renault’s actions, says Formula 1 should have cancelled the race which would cost Hamilton those six points thus making Massa the World Champion. recommends

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“We decided not to do anything, we wanted to protect the sport and save it from a huge scandal,” the 92-year-old told F1 Insider.

“According to the statutes, we should have cancelled the race in Singapore under these conditions. That means it would never have happened for the World Championship standings. Then Felipe Massa would have become World Champion and not Lewis Hamilton.”

Based on that, Massa is considering taking legal action.

“After 15 years,” he told Corriere dello Sport, “we hear that the [former] owner of the category says that he found out in 2008, together with the president of the FIA, and they did nothing [so as] to not tarnish the name of F1.

“This is very sad, to know the result of this race was supposed to be cancelled and I would have a title. In the end, I was the one who lost the most with this result. So, we are going after it to understand all this.

“But I intend to study the situation; study what the laws say, and the rules. We have to have an idea of what is possible to do.”

Massa’s plight has divided fans, some feeling sympathy for him and others saying erasing the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix would only penalise Hamilton who, like Massa, was innocent in all of this.

However, one team that’s not is McLaren.

On TikTok, McLaren showed a montage of photographs from Hamilton’s’ title-winning season with the caption: “Denial is a river in Egypt.”

A winking smile emoji was also added.

The post has left some fans in disbelief that an official McLaren account would address the situation in this manner.

One comment read: “No way McLaren admin posted this!”

Another user said: “The last person I expected this from!”

To date, Hamilton’s 2008 title success remains McLaren’s most recent of their 12 Drivers’ titles, the team also having won the Constructors’ Championship eight times.