In 2006 Felipe Massa drove his first season as a racing driver with Ferrari as a teammate of Michael Schumacher. In that year, the German showed his lesser side by making a blatant mistake in qualifying in Monaco. In La Rascasse he pretended to brake himself, only to come to a stop just before the crash barriers. The yellow flag meant that Fernando Alonso was unable to improve his time and Schumacher secured pole position.
At least, that was the plan. However, the FIA ruled that there was intent and placed Schumacher at the back of the grid. Shame was spoken of Schumacher’s action, but Massa said the record champion was not even the brains behind the action. That would have been master strategist Ross Brawn, the current sporting director of Formula 1.
“We had a meeting within the team where we discussed the approach to qualifying,” said Massa in the Sky Sports F1-docu ‘The Race to Perfection’. “Schumacher suggested holding off on his second set of tires if he was the fastest.”
Ross Brawn then suggested that in that case they might provoke a yellow flag. I shouted ‘I’m kidding for sure? But in the end it went exactly like this. Michael used that idea to his own advantage.
Ross Brawn himself does indeed dismiss the incident years later as a throwaway idea, but an idea that Schumacher took off with: “Normally you want to take pole position in Monaco, but it wasn’t even necessary for that weekend. a stupid act by Michael. It was one of those times when Michael had a short circuit, as it happened two or three times in his career. “
Again bad luck for Max Verstappen during a race and many negative reactions afterwards. But Max should not leave Red Bull. This and more in the RN365 podcast with Tom Coronel and Ruud Dimmers.