Lewis Hamilton pointed the blame towards his car’s mirrors at Suzuka after yet another crash with Felipe Massa.
Unlike in Singapore two weeks ago, the Briton was not penalised by the stewards for the latest run-in with his 2008 world championship rival. But this time, Hamilton – who was physically accosted by Massa after the recent night race – issued an apology.
“There was no bad intention towards Felipe,” Hamilton said. “I’ve got the utmost respect for him, he’s a fantastic driver and he was extremely quick today.”
Earlier this season, when contemplating the number of on-track incidents Hamilton has endured in 2011, David Coulthard revealed that he had spoken to the 26-year-old about visibility.
“I said (to Hamilton) ‘You sit very low in car, do you get enough visibility?’ He said ‘Although I sit low the visibility is fine’.
“But I wonder if he’s missing out in close-quarter racing by sitting so low,” added Coulthard.
Similarly, Nigel Mansell revealed this week that when he was a steward at Spa, he interviewed Hamilton about his clash with Pastor Maldonado at the bus-stop chicane.
“I asked Lewis if he had seen Maldonado and he replied ‘no’,” the 1992 world champion told the Daily Mail. “For all the years I did the job, I had an idea where everyone was on the track around me.
“No one in his right mind deliberately drives into another car, so I wonder if some of his problems have been caused by a lack of visibility? He needs to show better peripheral awareness of where he is,” added Mansell.
After his latest crash with Massa, Hamilton finally admitted that he does have a visibility problem.
“The only thing I have to say is that I can’t see anything out of my mirrors,” said the Briton. “They vibrate so much down the straight. I had no idea he (Massa) was there.
“Maybe that’s something we’ve got to look into.”
Brazilian Massa, however, was not interested in Hamilton’s explanation or even his apology.
“For what he says, I don’t care, just (I care about) what he did. I care about what the federation says and what the FIA does (about it),” said the Ferrari driver.