Massa set for dressing-down in Williams row

30 March 2014 02:16

Williams were set for showdown talks Sunday after a team orders row at the Malaysian Grand Prix threatened to drive a rift between new driving partners Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Brazil's Massa looked set for a dressing-down after he ignored instructions to let the charging Bottas past late in the race and try to overtake McLaren's Jenson Button.

Massa, newly arrived at Williams from Formula One big-hitters Ferrari, insisted he acted in the team's best interests by staying in front, despite the clear orders over the team radio.

"What I did was correct, I was trying to do the best for the team and that's the most important thing," he said. "I'm sure the result wouldn't have changed if I had let him by. What I did in my opinion was correct."

But chief operations engineer Rod Nelson said Massa "didn't do what we would have preferred him to do" and added that the situation would be spelled out to both drivers in the clearest possible terms.

"The facts are we felt that Valtteri stood quite a good chance of getting past Button because his tyres were about five laps younger and we felt that Felipe was compromised in that way because his tyres were a little bit older than Valtteri's and he had a temperature problem," Nelson said.

"There's nothing else going on in the background. We don't want to put one driver down and one driver up, we don't have team orders in that respect at Williams.

"We don't run like that -- it's not like other teams where they have a number one driver and a number two driver. We've got two number one drivers."

A stony-faced Bottas, who earlier had been denied permission to overtake Massa, said he hadn't spoken "properly" to his team-mate but also hoped to get the situation straight for future races.

"We're going to have a chat soon with some of the engineers. We're going to talk through it with the team and analyse what happened, what do we need to do next time in similar situations just so everything is clear," said the Finn.

While Massa, 32, has 193 grands prix and 11 wins to his name, 24-year-old Bottas is in just his second season and has never placed higher than fifth. They finished seventh and eighth respectively on Sunday.

The Malaysian Grand Prix was also hit by a team orders row last year when Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel ignored instructions not to pass Mark Webber for the race lead, prompting wide criticism of the world champion.

Source: AFP