Nelson Piquet Jr claims he was “treated like a dog” by Renault Formula 1 management in the aftermath of Crashgate – and that he did not “hinder” Felipe Massa. The events of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix have been highlighted once again recently as then-Ferrari driver Massa says he is seeking legal options about whether he has a case to get that year’s World Championship standings changed to hand him the title after comments from then-F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone. Ecclestone claims that he and then FIA president Max Mosley knew about the Renault plan to have Piquet Jr crash deliberately to trigger a Safety Car – during which a Massa pitstop went disastrously wrong as he took the fuel rig with him when leaving the box. A podium turned into a pointless evening for Massa – who would ultimately lose the title to Lewis Hamilton by one point – but as RacingNews365 previously wrote, the Brazilian is best to leave the past behind. The events of Crashgate become public knowledge when Piquet Jr lost his Renault race drive in mid-2009, when he was replaced by Romain Grosjean. Reflecting on the events, Piquet says he suffered “bullying” by senior management. Piquet explains Crashgate After a second place finish in the 2008 German Grand Prix – his best F1 result – Piquet explained to the Pelas Pistas podcast that Renault boss Flavio Briatore began to “put a lot of pressure on me until it came to that weekend [in Singapore] and, long story short, they put me psychologically against the wall and I had no way out. “Many people ask me if I would do it again, and of course the answer is no, but to be at that age [he was 23], under that pressure and having nobody there with you, with the bullying, complaining, pressure and always being told: ‘this is your last chance’ [was tough.] “You see your dream, which you spent your whole life [aiming for] going wrong, and [suddenly] I was the teammate who wasn’t as strong as [Fernando] Alonso, after [Heikki] Kovalainen. “I stayed [for 2009], and then they broke my contract and said: [Romain] Grosjean will take your place. I said: ‘You can’t do that’ but they didn’t care and treated me like a dog. “That’s when I said: ‘Ok, since you are kicking me out, thinking I am trash, we need to make everything clear and that’s when everyone knew about the story.” Not hindering Massa Massa was the unfortunate driver to lose out in the pitstops, waiting at the end of the pitlane for his mechanics to race down and remove the fuel rig as Alonso catapulted up the order to lead after a short early stint after car trouble in qualifying. And Piquet believes it was just pure bad luck for his fellow Brazilian. “Obviously, I wanted it to be different, it is logical that I did not do it to affect one person directly,” he said. “It was a team order to help someone in our team, it wasn’t to hinder Felipe, it wasn’t like that. “We didn’t know what was going to happen and Felipe could very well have won that race if the [bad] pitstop didn’t happen.”

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