It was the sixth time the pair have clashed this season.
Despite the stewards coming down on Hamilton’s side and giving Massa a drive-through penalty, Hamilton was still contrite, having also been demoted three places on the starting grid for ignoring warning flags in practice.
“I’m sorry for the team,” he said. “They always do a great job every weekend, so to disappoint them like this … Just big apologies to the team, my sponsors, after yet another disastrous race. It’s been an eventful year.”
But his most pertinent comment was more self-criticism as he added: “I just can’t apologise enough to my team for the negativity that surrounds me nowadays. I just have to try and keep my head up and recover from this for the next race.”
The McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh, however, believes Hamilton should stop feeling so guilty. Asked if he thought the driver was being too self-critical, Whitmarsh replied: “Yes I do, frankly. I’ve told him that on several occasions. I have said: ‘Don’t apologise, you’re a racing driver. If you’ve made a mistake accept it, learn from it and move on.’
“He’s very analytical. He’s very serious about trying to do the best job he can. He’s much too hard on himself. I’ve known Lewis for a long, long time and he’s been like it since he was a kartist, and he would beat up on himself. That’s his way. That’s his psychology. That’s how he motivates himself.”
Whitmarsh would not comment on whether the Briton’s personal life had been part of the problem, after Hamilton recently split up with his partner of four years, the American singer Nicole Scherzinger.
“He is a professional racing driver in this team and I will contain my comments to him as a professional racing driver,” he said. “As a professional racing driver he drove brilliantly at the last race [in South Korea]. He made a mistake on Friday but he was completely open about it. It’s not for me to speculate on his personal life.”
Hamilton now trails his team-mate Jenson Button by 38 points in the standings. Button finished second in India, behind the double world champion Sebastian Vettel.