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Massa denies deliberately hitting Hamilton

Hamilton and Massa collide, Japan 2008Felipe Massa has hit back at suggestions that he deliberately drove into Lewis Hamilton during the Japanese Grand Prix, damaging the world championship leader's McLaren and incurring himself a drivethrough penalty in the process.

Massa and Hamilton collided at Turn 10 on lap two as the Briton attempted to pass his championship rival for fifth place having recovered from a poor start where he ran wide at the first corner and impeded Kimi Raikkonen, for which he was also later penalised.

The McLaren moved ahead, but was tagged into a spin on the exit of the chicane as Massa ran over the kerbs and attempted to regain the place.

Massa claimed the collision was a 'racing incident', and questioned whether he deserved his own penalty.

"He [Hamilton] braked very late and I braked very late, and then I was a little bit wide in the first part of the corner," explained Massa. "Then he had my inside line and pushed me a little bit wide in the gravel, and then I went with the wheels on the gravel but the next corner was on the left.

"Then we just touched each other, so in my opinion it was a racing incident.

"But we had a drivethrough and we paid, and it is a bit difficult to speak after the race when we have already had the drivethrough."

Asked whether he had crashed into Hamilton deliberately, Massa replied: "For sure not, I had two wheels on the gravel. I could not stop the car and I was on the gravel because he pushed me into the gravel."

Massa added that he felt the penalty meted out to Hamilton for the first corner incident was fair however.

"For him yes, for me I am not sure," he said. "For me it was just a racing incident, because we braked very late into Turn 10. He tried to pass me and then I was a little bit wide in Turn 10 and he put the car on the inside, and I was on the outside.

"Then he pushed me a little bit close to the gravel. I put two wheels on the gravel, he closed the door and then we touched. The next corner was already in my favour, but because I was on the gravel I could not do anything and we touched. That is it.

"On the start, he made a bad start and Kimi passed him. Then he tried to brake completely when everybody was in the corner. He pushed to a much wider line and [Heikki] Kovalainen was on a wider line as well, so it was a big casino over there.

"For me that was a little bit too optimistic especially if you are thinking about the championship."

Despite the growing rivalry between the pair, who are now separated by just five points at the top of the championship table, Massa insists that he remains on good terms with Hamilton.

"I have a good relationship with Lewis, and I will not do something to destroy something by purpose," he said. "That is true."

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Q & A with Felipe Massa
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