Felipe Massa has denied suggestions that there was clear evidence during the season opener in Melbourne he is still Fernando Alonso’s number two at Ferrari.
Despite qualifying right on Spaniard Alonso’s pace in Melbourne and then running ahead of him in the race, Brazilian Massa was not called in first for service when the second round of pitstops took place.
“Felipe should not be at all happy,” former Renault boss Flavio Briatore was quoted as saying.
After the race, Massa admitted: “Yes I was upset when Fernando got ahead of me. That was the only problem of my race, where I lost two positions.”
One week on, preparing for round two in Malaysia, the 31-year-old Brazilian insisted he is happy to be back on top form in 2013, having slumped so badly last year.
But when asked if he thinks Ferrari deliberately moved against him in Australia, he told Brazil’s Totalrace: “I was not penalised or disadvantaged.
“When we were in a group of cars, Fernando came in earlier … it’s always easier when you take more of a risk.
“It looked like it was going to hurt him, but it ended up working out.
“Of course, if you’re fighting for the best and that happens, you’re upset, but of course it was not a disadvantage or even team orders. Not at all.
“I was part of that strategy and it didn’t work out. It was not easy to understand the tyres with such little practice,” Massa added.