Ferrari’s Felipe Massa bit the bullet and admitted that his spin on lap four of yesterday’s German Grand Prix was completely down to driver error – but a subsequent gearbox issue forced to retire.
The Brazilian spun at turn 1 while trying to correct a spin in the other direction. Parked in the run off area, Massa eventually climbed from the cockpit and walked back to the paddock. It was a bizarre incident and suggested a mechanical failure of some kind, but Massa eventually revealed he was to blame.
“I braked at the end of the straight and locked the rear wheels. The car went sideways to the left and I corrected. Then it went sideways to the right and I spun. I was stuck in fifth gear. I tried to go and the engine revs went down because it’s difficult to lift off in fifth gear. I tried with a lot of throttle but it was not possible.”
It’s a devastating blow for the 32-year-old who has been struggling with a string of crashes and retirements since Monaco. He crashed into the Armco barrier at turn 1 in Monaco during Qualifying and again during the race. The first was a technical issue while the other was driver error.
He spun out of Qualifying in Canada while he spun into a barrier in Silverstone and then suffered a Pirelli delamination during the race.
He’ll seriously need to pick up the pace if he is to keep his place at the team, who have reportedly been in talks with Nico Hulkenberg’s manager, as the German looks set to walk out on Sauber over contract issues.