Lewis Hamilton addressed Felipe Massa’s legal challenge over the 2008 world championship, the first time he’s spoken publicly on it since the Brazilian started his lawsuit against Formula 1 and the FIA during the summer break.
Massa‘s case rests on his assertion that the Singapore Grand Prix that season should’ve been cancelled due to Crashgate, which Bernie Ecclestone recently revealed was known by the FIA in 2008, before coming to light publicly in 2009.
However, as Hamilton prepares for the 2023 Dutch GP, he insisted he was fully focussed on the future and not the past.
“I don’t know, really I’m just focused on here and now and helping a team get back to the championship in the race and not really focused on what happened 15 years ago,” Hamilton said.
In one of the most exciting championship finishes in the history of sports, Hamilton overtook Timo Glock on the last corner of the last lap of the last race of the season to pip Massa to the title by just a single point.
Ferrari had already started celebrating the victory when Massa won the race and Hamilton looked out of it, and the home favourite put on a defiant display for the podium ceremonies.
However, Massa‘s now suing for loss of income after he believes the title was unfairly awarded.
Hamilton gained six points on Massa – a huge swing back then – when the Brazilian left the pits in Singapore with his fuel hose still attached after pitting due to Nelson Piquet Jr‘s deliberate crash.
Meanwhile, Hamilton finished third to grow his lead from one to seven points.
Hamilton ‘biding time’ for championship tilt
But Hamilton added he’s not just resting on his laurels after missing out on a record-breaking eighth championship in 2021 thanks to another controversial intervention by the FIA.
He’s had to endure two uncompetitive seasons at Mercedes since then, and after winning a grand prix in every single year of his F1 career up until 2022, he’s now on course for two barren years.
But when asked whether it’s hard to keep motivated scrapping behind the leaders after enjoying so many years at the top of the sport, Hamilton hit back.
“I don’t think it’s too difficult,” Hamilton said. “I think because there’s always areas that you can improve. So just working on fine-tuning how we work in the background, we’re constantly trying to improve our processes, come continuously making adjustments.
“Improving communication in the background, making sure the real information’s getting through and deep diving when balancing whether it’s car characteristics through corner balances or these sorts of things.
“So this season I’ve had more time to be able to focus on that than ever before and generally be a little bit more hands-on in the direction that we’re going with the car next year.
“And when I step away, just making sure that I’m mentally in the right place for where the car is right and hold on to that. I’m just biding my time.”