• Indian Grand Prix

No need for Massa penalty - Webber

ESPNF1 Staff
November 3, 2011 « DAMS opts for GP3 drivers Haryanto and Melker in Abu Dhabi | HRT secures Williams KERS deal »
Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton made contact for the sixth time this season at the Indian Grand Prix © Getty Images
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Mark Webber believes Felipe Massa's penalty for clashing with Lewis Hamilton at the Indian Grand Prix was too harsh and has called on stewards not to issue penalties unless the blame is clear cut.

Massa and Hamilton made contact in turn five on lap 24 of the Indian Grand Prix, as the McLaren driver attempted to pass on the inside of the medium-speed lefthander. The stewards deemed that Massa was to blame and issued him with a drive-through penalty, while Hamilton returned to the pits with damage to his front wing.

But Webber, who finished fourth in India, felt Massa was not 100% to blame for the incident and does not think a penalty was appropriate.

"You could argue all day about the rights and wrongs of the latest crash involving Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa but it was a 50-50 incident in my opinion," Webber wrote in his BBC column. "The corner they collided at is quite a quick one - fifth gear at about 135mph - so the brakes don't go on much. It's very difficult to pass there but Lewis got a good run off turn four and got down the inside of Felipe.

"If someone's had an absolute howler, then fine, give them a penalty but sometimes it might be better just to say it was one of those things. It was the age-old thing. Lewis went for it, Felipe was still going to commit to the corner, then Lewis tried to back off and couldn't."

Webber is concerned that stewards now feel obliged to hand out penalties following every collision.

"F1 is getting into a bit of a road-car culture with penalties," he added. "The attitude seems to be that someone must be to blame when there is an incident. In this case, the stewards thought Felipe could have given Lewis a bit more room and therefore handed him a drive-through penalty.

"Yes, Felipe could have made space for Lewis but, in my view, it wasn't clear-cut. The drivers have always said that they want the stewards to be consistent - and, to be fair, that's what they are trying to be. If someone's had an absolute howler, then fine, give them a penalty but sometimes it might be better just to say it was one of those things - what we call in F1 "a racing incident" - and let it go."

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