The Lewis Hamilton-Felipe Massa rivalry touched new heights with the duo getting involved in another collision at turn five on lap 24 of the inaugural Grand Prix of India here on Sunday.
The crash affected the chances of a better finish for both drivers, but it enhanced the entertainment value of the competition for its new spectators in the first ever F1 race on the BIC.
The reaction by Rowan Atkinson, a guest at the McLaren pit, on television brought comic relief to the intense race.
Both drivers were engaged in a crash at the Singapore Grand Prix in September and Massa was quoted as saying that Hamilton “cannot use his mind” and “how many races this year he did this?”
The two reportedly had a heated exchange in the mixed zone.
At the BIC, Massa got a drive-through penalty for the incident and subsequently retired on lap 33 when the left front suspension of his Ferrari broke. Hamilton entered the pit to get a new front wing fitted and that ended his hopes of a top-three finish.
The McLaren driver, who started fifth, finished seventh.
Hamilton sought to play down the incident.
“The contact with Felipe was just one of those things. I really didn't feel like I was at fault — it was a racing incident.”
“On the grid, just before the one minute's silence, he and I were standing next to each other and I put my arm around him and told him: ‘Have a great race today.' I have still got great respect for him,” he said.
Massa, however, was not happy with the penalty. “I do not share the opinion of the stewards who inflicted the punishment.
“I simply stayed on the ideal line, braking on the limit and staying on the part of the track that was rubbered in.
It is the umpteenth time that Hamilton runs into me this year and it seems it is some sort of fatal attraction!”
“In the past, I tried to talk to him, but he did not seem to be interested in doing so.
I will try and forget this trip to India as quickly as possible, but that will be absolutely nothing to do with the country!” added the Ferrari driver.