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Massa says Williams team order row was team's mistake

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The Canadian Press
4/3/2014 10:33:40 AM
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SAKHIR, Bahrain -- Felipe Massa says his team Williams made a mistake by ordering him to move aside for his teammate at last weekend's Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix and says the team has told him it will not happen again.

Massa refused repeated instructions to move aside for the trailing Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages of the race in Malaysia, prompting a post-race team meeting which Massa says vindicated his stance.

"I believe what has happened in the last race will not happen again," Massa said on Thursday, ahead of this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix. "It was not correct and not the right moment for this to happen."

Massa's perceived insubordination, in just his second race for the team after moving across from Ferrari, had the potential to cause a fissure between him and team officials or Bottas, but the Brazilian felt everything can be smoothed over.

"I don't think it's damaged my relationships," Massa said, adding that the team was "the first one to say sorry."

Massa said he found it "funny" that the radio instruction, played on the live race broadcast, was almost identical in wording to the 2010 German Grand Prix when he was told to move aside for then teammate Fernando Alonso. On that occasion, Massa did move aside and Ferrari was heavily fined for issuing team orders, which were banned at the time but are now permitted.

"Team orders are part of our sport and need to be part of our sport, but when it's necessary," Massa said.

He denies he was pulling rank on his junior teammate Bottas.

"I never ask any team to be the No. 1, the team needs to be equal," Massa said.

There was still some discord between the teammates on Thursday, with Massa saying team orders were never discussed at Williams ahead of the season while Bottas said they were.

Felipe Massa (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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