Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa’s team bosses say they will not interfere in the ongoing situation between the two drivers, despite yet another collision in the Indian Grand Prix.
With the duo having already been involved in five incidents this year, Massa and Hamilton came to blows again at the Buddh International Circuit as they battled for position – with the Brazilian being handed a drive-through penalty for his part in the crash.
The history between the two drivers has prompted fears of the rivalry getting out of control, but McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh and Ferrari chief Stefano Domenicali have insisted that they do not need to get involved to stop matters escalating further.
Whitmarsh said: “They’re young drivers but they’re not that young. They’re men They’ve got to figure it out for themselves. It would be nice if we got a situation where they’re not drawn together magnetically on the circuit and we didn’t have those incidents.
“I have discussed it with Ferrari but I think it’s got to come from in them. This is not the time. If I arranged for the two of them to shake hands outside the garage to shake hands you would all take a picture and have a laugh about it.
“They have to sort that out between themselves. I think underneath it all they’ve got a certain amount of respect but it’s one of those years where they’ve been coming together too frequently. I think Felipe is under enormous pressure within that team and that causes him to react.
“In truth Lewis will be feeling under pressure because of the great performance of Jenson at the moment. They are both young quick drivers and hopefully they will remain stars of Formula 1 for many years. They’re going to be around racing each other for many years so they’ve got to sort it out themselves.
“But a staged handshake? A conciliatory gesture outside the garage at the next Grand Prix? You don’t want that, unless it’s to take the Mickey out of it. They’ve got to sort themselves out.”
Domenicali added: “We can sit down together and play cards but it will not solve the issue. One thing that is crucial in my view is that we need to make sure there is a coherent approach from the stewards about things that happen on the track. There is a lot of discussion about that.
“We cannot avoid the fact there were a lot of kisses between them on the track. We cannot have these things being bigger than they are because they will be on the mind of the drivers which is not good. It will be solved by what I said before and a little bit of time.”
When asked about Hamilton’s attempt to settle matters with Massa before the race by putting him arm around him, which he claims was snubbed, Domenicali said: “You will recall that Felipe went to see him in Singapore, and Lewis decided to do other stuff.
“Felipe showed that he wanted to speak with him. That’s a fact. But we need to overcome this issue and solve it because it is not good for anyone.”
When asked about his view on the incident between Massa and Hamilton, Domenicali said: “As you know I always say that I respect the decision of the referee but I was surprised when I saw that decision.
“When I saw that Felipe was in front at the apex of the corner our reasoning was that he had the line to get the corner. I felt surprised. You may have a different opinion but it is what I feel.”