Massa still stewing over Perez incident in Canada

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Felipe Massa has told Sergio Perez to accept the blame for their crash during the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

The two drivers were battling over fourth position when they came together at the first corner on the final lap of the race. The stewards deemed Perez to have been at fault, and handed him a five place grid penalty for this weekend’s race in Austria.

However, the FIA is set to re-assess the evidence in a meeting with Force India tomorrow, but Massa is adamant that he is not at fault.

“It was a big one,” he explained on Thursday in Austria. “I think it’s always the worst feeling when you don’t have brakes, you can’t stop the car and the wall is just coming in front of you. I think that’s a very scary moment. I’m happy that I’m fine, and this is the most important thing.”

Massa feels that Perez did not race cleanly, and quite clearly broke the rules.

“The thing is that I was on his tow, and I was using the DRS, so he didn’t go to the left; he stays on the right, so the only possibility I had was to go left,” he said. “Like everybody that he was trying to save the position, they go to the left. I even passed Alonso on the other side because he went to the left, but he went at the right time to the left.

“When I moved to the left, he moved after, and then he hit my car, and I was still flat out when we touched. And this is the rules saying when somebody moves the car behind and puts their front wing inside of your rear tires, you cannot turn the car anymore. He didn’t follow.

“It will not change my opinion. If you know the rules, this is what I just said, these are the rules, and it’s coming from the FIA. If you know the history, most of the time it’s always the young drivers, especially him, cause these problems, cause these accidents, which is dangerous.”

The Brazilian inferred that Perez should be given a race ban to teach him a lesson.

“We saw that another driver had a lot of problems in the past, and he lost the race in Spa because of the accident he caused, and he learned. This is something that he [Perez] needs to learn.

“I hope he learns otherwise he’ll pay more penalties in the future.”

However, he is happy to sit down with Perez and talk about the incident, but doubts the Mexican will want to after ignoring him in the hospital in Canada after their clash.

“I’m totally ready,” Massa said. “I have no problem with him or to anybody, but I didn’t do anything wrong. He did. He was dangerous.

“I was very disappointed with him in the hospital, and then I said that it was dangerous and he needs to learn. He just turned and left.”

Perez has also maintained his innocence, meaning that the FIA will have to assess its telemetry and data once again to make an informed decision as to who was at fault in Montreal.

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

Hunter Jett Lawrence fans
Align Media
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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”