Felipe Massa outcome could trigger Lewis Hamilton 2021 challenge – Timo Glock exclusive

Thomas Maher
Felipe Massa's legal challenge of the 2008 title could re-ignite the 2021 battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, believes Timo Glock.

Felipe Massa's legal challenge of the 2008 title could re-ignite the 2021 battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, believes Timo Glock.

Speaking to PlanetF1.com, Timo Glock says he’s wary of the precedent a victory for Felipe Massa in court could have for the 2021 Lewis Hamilton controversy.

Felipe Massa is challenging the outcome of the 2008 F1 World Championship, which was won by Lewis Hamilton, with the Brazilian driver intending on taking F1 and the FIA to court over the deliberate manipulation of the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix by the Renault team.

Having lost loads of points to Hamilton as a result of that manipulation, Massa lost the title in heart-breaking circumstances at his home race – the then-Ferrari driver crossed the line to win and claim the title, only for Hamilton to overtake a struggling Timo Glock at the last corner to get into the position he needed to clinch the title.

Timo Glock: Felipe Massa victory could result in Lewis Hamilton court case

Speaking in an exclusive interview with PlanetF1.com, the man who unwittingly became a focal point in the outcome of that title battle has said he isn’t sure the course of action Massa has decided on is the correct one.

Glock, then racing for Toyota, had risen to fourth place by gambling on staying out on dry tyres as rain began to fall within sight of the chequered flag. Hamilton had pitted for intermediates, but it looked as though his choice would backfire as Glock kept his car on track.

But, in the last sector of the last lap, the intensifying rain resulted in Glock having to drive far more slowly – meaning both Sebastian Vettel as well as Hamilton were able to overtake him, demoting Glock to sixth and promoting Hamilton into fifth to take the title away from Massa by just a solitary point.

But, with Massa revisiting the entire year by seeking to have the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix removed from the records due to the manipulated race result – an outcome which would give him the title – Glock said victory for the Brazilian would open up a huge can of worms as other drivers involved in contentious seasons could seek out similar legal challenges.

“Well, it’s a good question,” Glock told PlanetF1.com, with thanks to LuckyBlock.com, when asked for his thoughts on Massa’s legal action.

“I mean, I’m not 100% sure if it’s the right way to do it, let’s say.

“I was surprised when I saw it because, you know, after such a long time to go in front of court… I don’t know if it will work out for him. I mean, he knows what he’s doing. He knows the facts, I don’t know the facts, actually, what are the details of it.

“So we will see. In the end, if he makes the step and even wins it, we could see another court facing maybe Lewis Hamilton against Max Verstappen.

“So I don’t know if it’s the right side for the sport. But, in the end, I’m not in all those details involved. So I don’t know. I was surprised when I saw that.”

Glock highlighting Hamilton vs. Verstappen for the 2021 title is referring to the contentious nature of the season finale in Abu Dhabi, when then-FIA race director Michael Masi made the controversial call to only allow the lapped cars separating Hamilton from the just-pitted Verstappen to unlap themselves – allowing a clear path for the Dutch driver to attack Hamilton on the final lap of racing.

“This opens up a lot of cases where other drivers could raise their hand and say, ‘Guys, listen, in whatever championship in that year, if that would have not have happened, I would have been Champion, you know?'” Glock said.

“I mean, in the end, it’s racing – incidents happen, situations happen, which you cannot steer in a direction. It’s part of racing sometimes. Sure, there are unfair situations, and there are unfair decisions made in any sport. If you take football, you could argue every game, I would say, that there were decisions taken in the past, which were not right.

“I think it’s not another great sign for the sport if decisions are taken in front of court every time.”

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Timo Glock reflects on impact of 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix

The German driver had to contend with dramas of his own following Interlagos 2008, having unwittingly played a direct role in the outcome of the title. Fans, lacking understanding of the difficulties of driving on a wet track with dry tyres, pointed the finger of blame firmly at Glock, resulting in a deluge of abuse and threats being made against him and his family.

Glock opened up on that day in an extensive chat with the Beyond the Grid podcast last year, revealing how it took until F1 released the onboard footage of his final lap for the torrent of abuse and threats of violence to finally calm down.

Asked by PlanetF1.com for his presiding memories of the race in which his name was written into the F1 history books, Glock paused.

“Every year, I get reminded of that special day in 2008. Actually, I don’t have much of a reminder of the special situation, let’s say,” he said.

“The only really weird situation was when I jumped out of the car because I still didn’t know that I decided the championship. I walked up to the scales, to see the FIA stewards, to go to the scales, and those journalists were running down to me asking me those questions about ‘if this was done on purpose’. Sort of weird questions, which I had no idea why they were asking me.

“Until my physio grabbed me and took me back to the pits and explained to me what happened and you start realising, but I never thought it would go so far that fans would be really bad to me.

“Talking about stuff that you never expect, because I did my race, and I just tried to do everything in the right way. In the end, we made the right decision as a team, because we moved up into the points. But yeah, the effect out of that was insane. How many years later, up to today, there are still people thinking out there I did it on purpose.

“But yeah, what can I do? What can I say? In the end, you just need to watch the onboard and I think that explains everything.”

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