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GP Week : Issue 2
27 F1 australia >> DC: Massa screwed up DAVID Coulthard has called on an unrepentant Felipe Massa to apologise for the incident which put the Scot out of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. The incident occurred at the start of lap 26, when Massa lunged up the inside of the Red Bull driver at Turn 1, launching the Scot into the air and down onto his front left tyre, which buckled under the pressure, resulting in the rear right giving way on landing and putting the grand prix veteran out on the spot. “I can understand that Felipe was in a quicker car,” fumed Coulthard after the race, “but you’ve got to have your car alongside to pass, especially in a corner like Turn 1, you can’t just ram into them. Felipe took a lunge from too far back and Turn 1 is a corner where you have to turn in early. I screwed up last year when I tried a speculative move on Alex [Wurz], but I took full responsibility for it and I would expect Felipe to do the same.” Massa’s answer? “I was on the inside and he closed the door on me, probably because he hadn’t seen me.” It remained unclear at the time of going to press whether Massa had seen a replay of the incident or not. VODAFONE McLaren Mercedes CEO Martin Whitmarsh has admitted the omens of a win in Australia point to a potential championship-winning season for the British team. A decade ago, McLaren ran a British and Finnish driver (David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen), finishing the first race of 1998 on the top step of the podium and going on to record wins in both championships. “We did,” he reminisced with GPWeek, “and we started with a 1-2 here under a bit of controversy, but I think that was a good start to the year. In reality we were quite dominant and had an easier time than I’m sure this one’s going to be but perhaps that’s a good omen.” Whitmarsh admitted it was a relief to get 2008 underway with a win. The team endured a trying 2007 campaign and the Briton said victory in Melbourne was exactly the boost the team needed. “Whatever happens the year before you’re always happy to start the year with a victory. After a good solid weekend for the team it’s a good reward for everyone in Woking, Brixworth and Stuttgart for all the hard work that they’ve put in over the winter.” While Lewis Hamilton took much of the glory for the race win, Whitmarsh was quick to pay tribute to Heikki Kovalainen, whom he said would almost certainly win races in 2008. “He did a fantastic job and really, aside from having a slight glitch having passed Fernando, did a fantastic job. He stayed calm throughout the weekend. We’ve only been working with him for eight weeks now and he’s learned a huge amount and is very, very strong. I think it’s clear in everyone’s mind he’ll be winning races this year.” A Finn and a Brit walk into a team ... No joke, Lewis and Keikki might be just like Mika and David!