Massa irked by Belgian penalty, blames Williams

Date published: August 30 2017

Although Felipe Massa finished inside the points at Spa, he says there is still “a little bit of bitterness” over his yellow flag penalty – and blamed Williams for it.

Massa was slapped with a five-place grid penalty for failing to adhere to double waved yellow flags during final practice.

The flags were out following Daniil Kvyat’s stoppage on track, however, Williams told Massa that it was a single yellow flag.

As such he lifted enough to comply with that regulation only to learn that it was actually a double waved yellow.

He wrote in his Motorsport.com column: “I left Spa with four points, but still with a little bit of bitterness for a penalty I was given for missing yellow flags. I had been completing a long run at the time, and didn’t need to push to the maximum.

“So when the team told me ‘single yellow flag, car stopped off track’, I paid attention knowing that this was not a particularly dangerous situation. Instead, I found that it was a double yellow flag, and when that happens things are treated very differently.

“I went through the sector four tenths slower than my fastest lap, so if there had been a single yellow flag, my behaviour would have been correct. But the pace was too quick for double yellows.

“I was summoned to see the stewards and, although they listened to the radio communications between me and the team, they gave me a five-place grid penalty and three penalty points on my licence.

“The punishment I think was a bit excessive considering it was not my mistake, and that less severe penalties have been handed out in the past for more dangerous episodes.

“I’ve always been very careful about safety in F1, and I think I have always been one of the drivers who had the fewest points on his licence. But on this occasions I could not do much more to convince those who judged me about my good intentions.”