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GP Week : Issue 196
A drive-through penalty wrecked home hero Felipe Massa’s hopes of ending his Ferrari career on a high and took away any chance he had of a strong finish in sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix. Massa, who is heading off to Williams next year after eight seasons with Ferrari, was on course for a strong result after a blinding start saw him slot into sixth after passing three cars off the line from ninth on the grid, but he ended up crossing the line a disappointing seventh. Having held station behind the leading group of cars through the early laps of the race, Massa moved up to fifth when he passed the struggling Mercedes of Nico Rosberg on lap 15. The 32-year- old made up further ground when he gained fourth at the cost of the sister Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton as the first round of pit stops played out. But the Ferrari driver – driving hard to keep a charging Hamilton behind following the stops – was slapped with a drive - through penalty as he cut across the pitlane entry line while negotiating the long flat-out left handed kink that leads onto the start-finish straight, with replays showing Massa driving across the striped entry lines without actually coming into the pits. Massa was livid when informed of the penalty by race engineer Rob Smedley and made his frustration known, yelling over the radio and gesturing furiously with his arms as he drove through the pits. “It was really a shame. I was having a great race,” Massa said after the race. “And then, suddenly, I got a drive -through penalty for crossing the line on the main straight. These guys they think they have all the power and they can do all they want,” he added, lambasting the stewards. “It's a shame more for them, not for me. Everyone saw it. I'm sure I wasn't the only car to do that.” Massa, who has won twice at Interlagos, called the decision of the stewards “unacceptable” and felt the penalty robbed him of a possible podium in front of his adoring fans on what was an emotional final outing for the Paulistano in a Ferrari. “ T he race could've been a much better result than it was, but it was still very emotional,” Massa said. “My race today was going to be fourth place and maybe third, Fernando was maybe going to back off and let me by.” Felipe's Ferrari farewell 28 GPWEEK.com // 28 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> BRAZIL