Lewis Hamilton has brought an end to his long-running feud with Felipe Massa by giving the Ferrari driver a hug after the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The duo had not been on speaking terms after
colliding six times this season
"It was good to have a nice chat with Felipe," said Hamilton. "I have great respect for him and I'm looking forward to racing him again next year."
Massa added: "I was pleased that Lewis came around to see me. It was a very nice gesture on his part."
Lewis Hamilton sends a message to his McLaren team
“ Apologies for any mishaps that have occurred. Just know that I'll be there strong next year”
Hamilton and Massa have clashed in a number of incidents this season, most notably in Monaco and Singapore, where Hamilton was blamed by officials and received drive-through penalties.
The pair most recently came together in India with Massa this time receiving a drive-through penalty. Afterwards Massa said that
he was not going to do any more to heal his rift with the 2008 world champion.
There was another heated battle on track in Sao Paulo, where
Red Bull's Mark Webber
won the race, but Hamilton dived back to the pits before he was able to pass Massa and then retired from the race with gearbox failure.
And as the curtain fell on the 2011 season, Hamilton and Massa appeared to patch things up as the Englishman visited Massa when he was speaking to Brazilian journalists.
"Even in this race we've had the magnetic attraction between Lewis and Felipe which has sometimes gone wrong," said McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh.
Hamilton v Massa in 2011
- May 2011
- The pair bang wheels at the hairpin during the Monaco GP with Hamilton picking up a drive-through penalty
- September 2011
- In qualifying for the Singapore GP, the duo nearly collide as they try to find clear air for their flying laps
- September 2011
- In the race, Hamilton turns into Massa. The Brazilian suffers a puncture while Hamilton is handed a drive-through penalty
- October 2011
- The two drivers have a minor brush at Suzuka with Hamilton accepting responsibility. The stewards take no action.
- October 2011
- They are involved in a heavy collision in India, with Massa handed a drive-through penalty for turning in on Hamilton.
"For a few moments there we thought it might just happen again. In fact at that point Lewis didn't have a seventh gear so although he was quite a lot quicker, getting past was going to be a bit of a challenge for him.
"So it was nice at the end of it, in an impromptu way, for Lewis to have a hug with Felipe.
"Hopefully that story will now end and we'll move on to a great championship fight for next year.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali agreed saying: "I was very pleased to see today Hamilton come in here and hugging Felipe.
"At the end of the day that is what it is all about. It was a good gesture and I am very happy that today this was pretty clear."
Hamilton also apologised to this McLaren team for an up-and-down season which saw him finish fifth in the championship.
"Thank you to the team and apologies for any mishaps that have occurred," added Hamilton. "Just know that I'll be there strong next year, 2012 will be a good one for us.
"We've had some good times this year so we'll have some time to reflect and come back and attack next year."
Meanwhile, Jenson Button was delighted to become the first of Hamilton's team-mates ever to finish the season ahead of him.
"It's never easy when you have a team-mate like Lewis who is extremely quick and is also a world champion," said Button.
"It's never going to be easy to score more points than Lewis and over the next few years it's not.
Hamilton pleased to finish 2011 season
"But it's a challenge for both of us to beat each other and in doing so that really drives us on to do better.
"We have a great working relationship. It's a competitive environment in the team. It's good."
Looking ahead, Button said McLaren would need to hit the ground running in preparation for the 2012 season.
"I know we've said it many times, but we've got to come out in testing and have a car that we can do mileage in and do set-up work with," he added.
"At the start of this year, we weren't able to do any of that because we had issues with the exhaust. So we did no testing before the first race.
"You've got to start strong, especially when you're fighting people like Ferrari and Red Bull."