Ferrari ’s poor showing at this year’s F1 championship came to an end yesterday as Fernando Alonso controversially led a Ferrari one-two at the German Grand Prix. Apparently, Felipe Massa was given orders by his team to stand down for Alonso, who subsequently won the race.
After a post-race steward’s analysis, Ferrari was fined $100,000 for breaching F.I.A sporting regulations, which states in Rule 39.1: "Team orders which interfere with a race result are prohibited’. Despite the penalty, Ferrari insisted the incident was "a driver decision" and said no instructions were given to their drivers.
Rob Smedley, a Ferrari race engineer was overheard communicating to Massa over team radio: "Alonso is faster than you. Can you confirm you understand?" It seemed Massa responded by letting Alonso through on Turn Six moments later. Following the move, Smedley added: "Good lad. Just stick with it now, sorry."
Massa took full advantage of the battle between Vettel and Alonso, taking lead at the start, however on lap 21 the Ferrari pair traded places on Turn Six before Massa regained the lead - resulting in Alonso saying on team radio: "This is ridiculous".
Asked to comment on the call afterward, Massa, who looked incensed at the podium and was denied a potential win one year to the day after he fractured his skull in the Hungarian GP, said: "I don’t need to say anything about that. He passed me." Alonso’s win took him to within range of Hamilton, 34 points adrift.
Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, was philosophical about his performance and stated that "the guys in front were phenomenally quick, and I was struggling a little bit with the balance throughout the race. Nevertheless we look forward; we scored some relatively decent points."
Meanwhile, the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher finished in sixth and ninth place respectively while Robert Kubica was seventh for Renault with his team-mate Vitaly Petrov completing the top 10.