Massa lost last year’s title fight in perhaps the most frustrating way imaginable, when on the very last lap of the season’s last race, Lewis Hamilton passed a struggling Timo Glock to finish fifth, gaining the single point he beat Massa with.
Three races earlier, Massa had been in the lead when his fellow Brazilian Nelsinho Piquet’s now-infamous staged accident bunched up the field behind the safety car, resulting in a dramatically reshuffled race from which Fernando Alonso emerged victorious while Massa came in at 13th, out of the points. Realizing that these were his only points lost due to conscious scheming, he’s lashed out at the lenient treatment Renault has received:
All of what happened was robbery. Regarding the race nothing has happened, the result stays the same. That’s not right. It changed the championship. I lost by one point…they just sent Briatore home. I don’t understand it and I don’t think it was right.
Historical revisionism, perhaps, as a Formula One season is by default laden with what-ifs. Still, it’s easy to understand his frustration. A year ago, Massa was driving a highly competitive car, fighting for the championship until the last corner of the last grand prix.
Since then, Formula One has become a mad shuffle, Ferrari’s 2009 car has proven to be a huge disappointment, new teams and young guns have emerged and matured and Massa himself took a giant spring to the head from Rubens Barrichello’s car, which nearly killed him and removed him from competition for the rest of this season.
While he is still a young driver at 28 and with a team that will surely bounce back, he is certainly no closer to winning his world championship than on that November day in São Paulo, where it slipped from his hands so cruelly, right in front of his home crowd.
Source: BBC, Photo Credit: Paul Gilham/Getty Images, Clive Mason/Getty Images