Felipe Massa furrowed his brow in Singapore when an Italian journalist dared to ask about the health of his world championship chances.
Brazilian Massa is mathematically still in the title chase, but the media is billing 2010 as a five-way contest between his Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso and the Red Bull and McLaren drivers.
29-year-old Massa is increasingly seen as a bit-part to number 1 Alonso’s push.
So when asked by the Italian journalist about his chances, Massa angrily reacted: “On some questions, you could probably think of the answer.
“But I will say it again. The world championship for me is over.”
Massa started from the rear of the grid in Singapore due to a gearbox failure in qualifying, but Brazilian journalist Livio Oricchio was unimpressed with his performance under the floodlights.
“He stayed behind Nico Hulkenberg’s Williams most of the time,” he wrote in his column for Jornal da Tarde. “But Massa has the same car as (race winner) Alonso.
“Ferrari can be accused of having team orders, but not of giving its two drivers different cars.
“Alonso proved that the car is very fast. But we didn’t see a single attempt from Massa to overtake his opponent, even when his tyres were new.
“What we’re seeing is a disproportionate difference in competence between the two Ferrari drivers,” charged Oricchio.
The press was also hard on Lewis Hamilton, who for the second race in a row retired due to a collision. The Mirror said: “Lew blew it … again”.
But Hamilton vowed to stay aggressive.
“It’s the way I am,” he said in the Spanish newspaper El Pais. “That’s me, and I think this aggression is my main strength.”
© RIF | GMM