The Englishman who can engineer defeat for Lewis Hamilton
Rob Smedley is a no-nonsense Yorkshireman who has transformed Felipe Massa from being a hot-headed also-ran into a genuine threat to Hamilton's title dream in the decisive Brazilian Grand Prix.
|Rob Smedley (L) and Felipe Massa|
Smedley is Massa's chief engineer, ostensibly tasked with the job of making the Brazilian's Ferrari at least the equal of the McLaren driven by Hamilton. But the 34-year-old technical genius - he has degrees in mathematics and mechanical engineering - is much more than that.
Over the last three seasons, Smedley and Massa have become brothers-in-arms whose relationship transcends most of those formed in the pit lane.
Massa, who with Smedley's help has this year out-raced Ferrari team-mate and defending world champion Kimi Raikkonen, says: "Rob can be my engineer, he can be my psychologist, he can be my friend.
"I know everything about him, he knows everything about me. Not only on the professional side, but also on the private side. When sometimes I may have a problem in my private life, he knows it can affect my driving.
"But he doesn't see me as a Formula One driver like a lot of other people, who might be afraid about what they should do or say to me.
"If I do something good, he's very happy and he'll tell me so. But if I do a bad thing, he'll tell me where I've gone wrong. That is important when it comes to doing a good professional job."
Massa goes into his home Grand Prix trailing Hamilton by seven points and knows he must win or at least finish second, and hope his rival slips up and finishes outside the top five in order to claim a maiden title. Smedley believes his man is up to the task. He said: "I'm a north of England boy and I will keep pushing Felipe right to the end.
"Felipe is hungry, he wants this. He knows he is in a car that's capable of winning the world championship, and he knows that, as a driver, he is capable of winning the world championship." More at Yahoo Sports