Felipe Massa finished sixth and Valtteri Bottas ninth in the Belgian Grand Prix. Both cars struggled at the start and lost positions during a difficult first stint. An error at the first round of pitstops for Bottas resulted in him being awarded a drive-through penalty and the rest of the race was damage limitation, so a good result to get back into the points. Massa struggled for pace in the first stint but after the pitstops battled hard to finish sixth.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “I am clearly disappointed with what has happened to Valtteri. As a team we have made a mistake, and on behalf of the team I am very sorry that we cost him what could have been a podium position. There will be an investigation into the processes in place to understand what happened fully, and to put in place a procedure to stop this happening again. The rest of our race was dictated by the lack of pace in the first stint and from then on we had to fight our way back. The big difference at this race was that there were five teams all with very similar race pace. Unfortunately though, because so many cars were close in performance, the result was dictated primarily by what happened in the first stint when we were struggling. After that we had the pace on the prime tyre and as a result still managed to finish with both cars in the points. We have gained on Ferrari and lost very few points to Red Bull which is positive considering the day we have had.”
Felipe Massa: “It was a frustrating day for me. I struggled at the start and then the soft tyre in the first stint didn’t operate as well as it should have done so I lost a few positions. At this point we were fighting from behind but the medium worked well. I couldn’t overtake the Force India of Perez at the end as their straightline pace was good. It has been a difficult day but to still finish sixth is the main positive we will take away from the weekend.”
Valtteri Bottas: “We haven’t got the result we were after today. The pitstop and the race pace are two areas that we need to investigate. We thought we would be stronger during the race but the soft tyre in the first stint didn’t work as well and put us in a difficult position. We have to make sure we bounce back well in Monza.”