Romain Grosjean’s objection to his penalty for overtaking Felipe Massa off the track during the Hungarian Grand Prix received support from an unlikely source.
Massa himself said Grosjean’s penalty was “wrong”. The Lotus driver passed the Ferrari around the outside of turn four but put all four wheels off the track while he did so.
“If he took the penalty because of what he did with me, that’s completely wrong,” said Massa, who believed Grosjean only put two wheels beyond the white line on the outside of the track.
The stewards ruled that: “In order to overtake [Massa], [Grosjean] left the track. This overtaking move would not otherwise have been possible”.
“I haven’t seen the footage yet and I thought it was a good move,” said Grosjean after the race, “but unfortunately the stewards took a different view”.
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier also believed the penalty was too severe: “The drive-through penalty cost him a far better result. He made a great move at a circuit where overtaking is difficult and he had no room to do anything else. For us the stewards’ decision was harsh.”
However Grosjean had no objections to the 20-second time penalty he was given after the race for colliding with Jenson Button, saying: “I’ve no problem with the time-added for the incident with Jenson and I apologized to him afterwards.”