Lewis Hamilton looked almost bemused when Felipe Massa's name was mentioned ahead of the Abu Dhabi grand prix yesterday. The two have had at least five on-track collisions this year, the last of which came in India a fortnight ago.
What, Hamilton was asked, did he think looking back on the race at the Buddh International Circuit? “I haven't looked back,” he said. “I've only been looking forward, to a much better result here. I think we've got every reason to be confident. This circuit should really suit our car.”
What about the risk of another clash with Massa? “If I had qualified and started from second place in India,” he countered, referring to the penalty for running too quickly in practice by yellow caution flags. “I would never have been anywhere near Felipe.”
Massa's post-race jibes have begun to wear on Hamilton, who says he tried to make things up on the grid there: “It [reconciliation] has to come from two people and if one doesn't want it to happen...”
But Hamilton does seems happier this week.
“I've got some positive energy back,” he said. “I have surrounded myself with good people in the last few weeks. I'm optimistic about things in life and where I'm going, and that's what I'm looking forward to.”
Hamilton also said he is looking forward to a break from the sport and “the chance to let the dust settle on all the negativity there's been this year”. But only because there are still two chances left to add to his two wins this year.
“I love racing and I'd be gutted if there were no races left right now. You never wish them away,” he added.
Meanwhile, Massa yesterday scoffed at a British bookmaker who has offered short odds on the Brazilian becoming involved in another collision with Lewis Hamilton this weekend.
The 5-1 shot from Ladbrokes follows their latest clash in India 11 days ago, their sixth of the season, that resulted in Massa being given a drive-through penalty.
Both Massa and Hamilton yesterday confirmed there has been no personal contact between the duo since their last coming together.
Ladbrokes are also offering odds of 10-1 the duo collide and one or both retire, and 25-1 they collide and then come to blows.
Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Donohue said: “Punters have got stuck into the crash specials again, and if it results in a dust up we'll have a huge payout on our hands.”