Felipe Massa has vehemently dismissed suggestions he betrayed his country during the team orders furore in Germany on Sunday.
Massa has since been pilloried in Brazil for allowing Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso to pass and claim the win at Hockenheim.
The 29-year-old had previously been revered, in particular after coming so close to winning the world title in 2008, and following his bravery in Budapest a year ago in surviving a horror smash.
But in one fell swoop virtually all of that good will has been eroded by Massa’s actions which were anathema to the sporting sensibilities of the Brazilian people.
Attempting to rebuild his reputation, Massa said: “I will always do everything I can for my country.
“My country is the most important thing because it’s my home.
“I have already proven many times in my life and in my career what I’m able to do for my country.
“Whoever is thinking like that is definitely, completely wrong. I’m doing everything I can.”
Massa’s words are unlikely to cut any ice with his countrymen, even here this weekend where a year ago he came close to losing his life.
As planned, Massa met with hospital staff at the circuit to thank them for playing their part in ensuring he survived a fractured skull that later required the insertion of a metal plate.
“It was supposed to be a good race weekend, and then the most incredible accident, the most incredible thing happened of all my life,” said Massa on reflection.
“I’ve been to the hospital here inside the track and seen most of the people who took me from the car and who did a lot for me which was very important in that moment.
“That is the best thing that can happen in your life – to see a guy who worked very hard to help you. This is really nice.
“So this is a special place, one I enjoy, where everybody supports me, especially after the accident.”
Massa is confident there will be no fear and no flashbacks when he returns to the track today for the two practice sessions – simply because he has no memory of what happened.
“To be honest, I don’t remember a single thing from the accident,” said Massa, who was struck above his left eye by a spring weighing a kilogram from the then Brawn GP car of Rubens Barrichello.
“So when I close the visor I won’t think about these things. I’ll be thinking about doing my best and working for the maximum I can.”
With a smile, he joked: “And I’m pretty sure Rubens has a very, very strong spring on his car now!”
Barrichello is convinced his compatriot will not “fear anything,” in particular reciting a story that showed Massa was firmly over the accident.
“Three or four months ago we were playing poker in Brazil and he said ’I have a surprise for you,”’ said Barrichello.
“So he put the helmet from his accident on the table. It destroyed my night because I then started losing money with the poker.
“He had fun with it, so he’s going to drive flat out without a doubt.”