Felipe Massa to replace Valtteri Bottas at Williams for 2017 season

felipe_massa

 

As expected Felipe Massa has agreed to rejoin Williams on a one-year deal, coming out of retirement to replace Valtteri Bottas who the team has released to join Mercedes for the 2017 season.

Felipe will race for a fourth consecutive season with Williams, alongside Lance Stroll who will make his Formula One debut in the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Having joined Williams in 2014, Massa has been instrumental in the team’s improved performance supporting a resurgence to third place in the Constructors’ Championship in his first and second years.

Speaking about the announcement Massa said: “Firstly, I am very happy to have an opportunity to return to Williams. I always intended to race somewhere in 2017, but Williams is a team close to my heart and I have respect for everything it is trying to achieve. Valtteri has a great opportunity, given the turn of events over the winter, and I wish him all the best at Mercedes.

“In turn, when I was offered the chance to help Williams with their 2017 Formula One campaign, it felt like the right thing to do. I certainly have not lost any of my enthusiasm for racing and I’m extremely motivated to be coming back to drive the FW40. The support from my fans over the last few weeks has been a huge boost and I’m grateful for that. I also look forward to working with Lance; I’ve known him for many years and seen his talent develop during that time, so I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

So, there you have it…

The demon duo does it again

 

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, SaturdayLewis Hamilton has taken his 61st career pole position – his third at the Yas Marina Circuit and 12th of the 2016 season so far. Nico Rosberg completed a 14th Silver Arrows front row lockout of the season in P2 – his 60th front row start in Formula One. The team has now taken 20 pole positions from 21 races in the 2016 season, which is a new all-time record. Both drivers completed a single run in Q1 and Q2 then two runs in Q3, using UltraSoft tyres throughout.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was third, but 0.834 secs slower than Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s been an awesome weekend so far. It’s rare that you end almost every session on top, so I’m very, very happy, with that. It’s down to the hard work done by the mechanics and the engineers to get the car where I need it, so I’m grateful to them for that, as always.

“I felt so great out there tonight. It’s really sad that this is the last Qualifying session we’re going to do in this car! It’s a dream for any driver to have something this good to drive. I’ve been doing my practice starts from the pole slot all weekend as I wasn’t planning on being anywhere else for tomorrow. I came here knowing that was a big part of what I needed this weekend and, now I’ve got that, I can focus on the race. Getting away in front will be the next important step. You need a big pace delta to overtake here, so the start will be crucial.

“Tonight, though, I need to look at strategy and how things need to work for me to get the win. At the moment, my pace is that little bit better. But I can’t control what happens behind me. All I can do is focus on my own race. You never know what might get thrown into the mix, so I’m just hoping my car is as beautiful as it has been so far this weekend and aiming for the win.”

Nico Rosberg: “I came here to be on pole, so I’m not ecstatic today. I was feeling good in the car today and put in some good laps at the end. But Lewis did a great job and was just a few tenths quicker. I’m still in a good position to win the race and I want to end the season on a high. There are a few opportunities tomorrow, so I look forward to an exciting battle.

“The Yas Marina Circuit is a great track and I’m feeling very good before the last race of the year. I am proud and happy about how this season has gone for me until now. Tonight I will relax a bit with Vivian and some friends and come back tomorrow in top shape.”

Tomorrow is promising to be a cracker, yet also tinged with some sadness as we say goodbye to Felipe Massa and Jenson Button.

 

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Saturday

Massa retires in final home race

Williams Valtteri Bottas finished 11th and Felipe Massa retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix. The start was delayed due to heavy rain and a series of safety car periods and two red flags, on laps 21 and 28, broke the race into several segments. Both drivers lost track position when the first red flag penalised their early switch to intermediate tyres. Bottas contested the points placings for much of the race, and made up two places on the final lap.

Massa was making good progress in the treacherous conditions until he crashed out of his last home grand prix on lap 47, prompting emotional scenes as he was cheered by fans and greeted by teams as he walked back down the pitlane.

Bottas remains eighth and Massa 11th in the Drivers’ Championship. Williams stays fifth in the Constructors’ Championship.

Felipe Massa: “It’s impossible to explain my feelings from today, for everything that has happened. So much love. We couldn’t finish the race. I wanted to finish in the right way, with the flag on the top. Unfortunately, I couldn’t, but I think God knows what to do.

“I was just walking, in front of my people, with this amazing reaction. Not just from the fans but from all the people in Formula One coming out to clap their hands for me. It’s impossible to explain these emotions. I never expected this in my life, I don’t think I deserved as much as this.

“The minimum I can say is thank you very much to everyone, all the people I’ve worked with, all of the fans. I will never forget this day.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a very difficult day in very difficult conditions. We managed to keep the car in one piece but it wasn’t easy. We had quite a lot of potential with the strategy, but in the end the intermediate tyres starting working a bit too late for us.

“It’s a shame that Force India got a lot more points than us, so it’s going to be tricky in Abu Dhabi. We were just really unlucky today with the timing of our strategy. It’s been amazing to see the support here for Felipe and I’m sure he really appreciated it. We’ll enjoy Abu Dhabi.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “We knew we needed to do something different to get in the points. We hoped the rain would ease off enough to cause the extreme wet tyre to wear, so that our early decision to switch to the intermediates would give us the advantage. Unfortunately, with all the safety cars and red flag periods, it allowed everyone to keep changing their wet tyres for fresh ones, so we never saw the benefit.

“We did our best in difficult conditions but the safety cars and stoppages didn’t help us. It was a shame that Felipe had to end his race the way he did, as it would have been great for him to get a good result. You could see that he was absolutely filled with emotion, as he has been all weekend, and this final home race for him, in front of his fans and surrounded by friends and family must be something very special for him. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.

“Credit must also go to Max Verstappen, who was in a class of his own today and was incredible to watch. He may have even won the race had it gone on a few laps longer. Thank you as well to all the fans who stayed to watch despite all the delays.”

Shame about the boys

Felipe Massa has certainly announced that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the 2016 season, after 14 years. Not sure about Mr Button who I thought would be off to finish his career at Williams.

The 35-year-old Brazilian is in his third year with Williams, having joined the team in 2014, and is due to celebrate his 250th Grand Prix start at his final race in Abu Dhabi this year. Felipe scored three podiums and one pole position on his way to seventh in the drivers’ standings in his first season with the team, helping Williams climb to third in the Constructors’ Championship. Two further podiums followed in 2015 as Felipe finished sixth in the Drivers’ Championship and the team retained third place in the Constructors’. He is currently ninth in the 2016 championship.

Felipe made his F1 debut with Sauber back in 2002, scoring his first points in just his second race. He was signed as a test driver by Ferrari for 2003, before returning to Sauber for two further years alongside his testing duties with Ferrari. This relationship paved the way for Ferrari’s driver academy which was launched in 2009.

Felipe graduated to a race seat at Ferrari in 2006, alongside seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher. Felipe took the first two of his 11 career victories that season, finishing third in the world championship. He came close to winning the 2008 World Championship with Ferrari, leading the standings with just half a lap of the final race of the season to go, until Lewis Hamilton climbed enough places to claim the title.

Felipe stayed with Ferrari up until he joined Williams in 2014, with his 139 starts for the Scuderia making him the team’s second-longest serving driver ever, behind Schumacher. He remains one of the most popular drivers in Formula One, especially so in his native Brazil, and in Italy following his 11-year stint with Ferrari.

However, it’s not so clear about Jenson Button. On the face of it Stoffel Vandoorne is replacing him. Jenson is sticking around and keeping race fit. In my view he’s still a contender, so what’s going on? Perhaps it’s all about the marketing. Who knows…

German GP post race: Williams

WV2I5788

Silverstone, Northamptonshire, UK. Sunday 10 July 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams Martini Racing, on the grid. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q4883

 

Valtteri Bottas finished 9th whilst Felipe Massa retired from the German Grand Prix. Massa started P10 but was clipped on the opening lap by Palmer’s Renault which affected the car’s pace. The issue couldn’t be identified or resolved during the race, therefore he was forced to retire on lap 36.

As a result of Hulkenberg’s one-place grid penalty, Bottas started today’s race from P7 on the supersoft tyre. He moved up to P5 in the early stages of the race, benefiting from his competitors pitting, before dropping back to P7 ahead of Hulkenberg. Following Hulkenberg’s final stop Bottas was 15 seconds clear of the Force India but with severely worn tyres he wasn’t able to hold on to the position and fell to P9, ahead of Perez, in the closing stages of the race.

Both drivers retain their positon in the Drivers’ Championships with Bottas in seventh and Massa in ninth, while the team stays fourth in the Constructors’ Championship, 15 points clear of nearest rivals Force India.

Valtteri Bottas: “The race was going OK until Force India managed to get in front of us with the undercut. They did a three-stop and we tried a two-stop. There was definitely something wrong with our tyre calculations, because there was no way to get to the end on that set of tyres. The stint was just way too long and that really cost us some points today.”

Felipe Massa: “It’s such a shame that someone hit my rear right tyre on the first lap because it felt like something definitely happened to that area of the car. Perhaps a toe issue or something, because the car felt undriveable. Although I tried to carry on with the race, I was suffering massively. The pace was just so slow to the point where it was better to retire than carry on. Now, I’m going to take the summer break as an opportunity to relax with my family and prepare for the second half of the season to make it much better than the first half.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “Felipe was hit in the rear in Turn 6 on lap one and there wasn’t a great deal we could do from then on. We were trying to understand what the problem was as Felipe was completely off the pace and complaining about the car. There was no alternative other than to retire because he was towards the back of the field and struggling.

“With Valtteri, we tried a strategy which clearly didn’t work. We deployed the wrong tactics in the race, which is something we’ve got to learn from. As a group of people, we get it right most of the time, but today we didn’t. We thought the tyres would go to the end but they didn’t and so ninth was the best we could achieve, unfortunately.

“It hasn’t been a great day but this is where we see the mettle of everyone moving forward and make sure we don’t let our heads go down. We’ll carry on improving and trying to do the absolute maximum that we can do with the car that we’ve got. We’ll keep pushing on.”

 

Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Friday 22 July 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 Mercedes, leaves the garage. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q6286

ValtteriBottas leaves the garage.

Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 23 July 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams Martini Racing. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q6827

Felipe Massa

German GP qualifying: Williams

Valtteri Bottas climbs in to his car.

Valtteri Bottas climbs in to his car.

Hockenheim, Germany. Saturday 30 July 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams Martini Racing. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image WW2Q1402

Felipe Massa

 

Valtteri Bottas qualified eighth and Felipe Massa 10th for the German Grand Prix.

Both cars progressed from Q1 into Q2 after one run each on the supersoft tyre, with Bottas easily advancing through in P7 and Massa in P15. Bottas and Massa both went out twice in Q2 on new supersofts. The Toro Rosso of Sainz hampered Massa at Turn 2 on his first run which forced him to go again. Massa eventually made it through in P10 on his final lap. Bottas made it through to Q3 in P5 with a 1:15.490, his fastest time of the day.

Setting one timed lap each in Q3, Massa headed out first on to a clear track, followed by Bottas who also entered the track with no cars ahead. Bottas and Massa crossed the line in P6 and P7, but dropped to P8 and P10 as the remainder of the field finished their flying laps.

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a very consistent qualifying session from us as a team. It was a very close session, as expected, but the balance of the car felt good and we managed to get the tyres to work better. We are missing a bit of grip compared to the cars in front so I think we more or less got the maximum from the car today. I had some traffic in the last sector on my Q3 run which cost me a few hundredths, so I could have been seventh, but apart from that I’m pretty pleased with my qualifying today.”

Felipe Massa: “I’d say it was a very competitive qualifying today, especially with Force India. We are constantly fighting for a tenth. I was very happy with my lap; but I just went into the turn too much at corner 12 and I lost time on my lap because of that. That’s the only thing that happened or else I’d have easily been one tenth quicker. So that’s a shame, but I will try even harder for the team tomorrow.”

 

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal

Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 23 July 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams Martini Racing. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q6827

Felipe Massa

Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Sunday 24 July 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 Mercedes, arrives on the grid. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q7931

ValtteriBottas arrives on the grid.

Grand Prix of Europe post race: Williams

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa

Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan. Sunday 19 June 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams FW38 Mercedes, arrives on the grid. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q9002

Massa arrives on the grid.

Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan. Sunday 19 June 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams Martini Racing, and Jonathan Eddolls, Race Engineer, Williams Martini Racing, on the grid. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q9054

Valtteri Bottas and Jonathan Eddolls, Race Engineer.

 

Valtteri Bottas finished sixth and Felipe Massa 10th in the European Grand Prix. Bottas made a one-stop strategy work and ran as high as third before making his stop on lap 19. He was able to manage his tyres and strategy well to stay ahead of the two-stoppers and finish sixth. Massa had to run a two-stop strategy due to tyre graining. He was fifth before his first stop on lap 7, and sixth before his final stop on lap 28, but he continued to struggle with his tyres and finished 10th.

The team collected nine points in the Constructors’ Championship, while Bottas retains seventh in the Driver’s Championship and Massa drops to ninth behind Perez.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “That was nowhere near what we expected from this race. Valtteri being ninth in that first stint didn’t help us, but he was able to make a one-stop strategy work, as were all the top six. Felipe was struggling with rear graining in the first stint. Valtteri had a little bit of the same, to a lesser extent, and then his tyres came back and he was quite strong towards the end of that stint. He was going quicker and quicker so we could leave him out and he was able to get up to sixth, but it’s still a disappointing result.

“The team did a fantastic job with the pit stops, the strategy worked out and gained some positions for Valtteri but unfortunately we couldn’t do it for Felipe as well because of tyre degradation. The team is working really well, it’s the car’s pace that’s let us down. The main thing we need to take away from this race is that we were out of position, in terms of pace, compared to Force India. We’ve got to go away and understand why we weren’t quick enough, so that’s what we’ll concentrate on. We’ve got Austria coming up so we need to look forward.

Valtteri Bottas: “Overall, it was a good day for us because the pace we had today wasn’t enough for any more. It felt like a good race from my side, and we managed to do the one-stop strategy which was definitely the best one today. I’m glad we could manage the tyres and get it to work because that made the sixth place possible. The team did a really good job with what we had today, the strategy and the pitstop. Now we need to work hard because we need better positions than this. We need to make the car quicker and then we can fight for another podium soon.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a really terrible race for me, one to forget. I struggled massively with the tyres. I couldn’t make them work, I was having a lot more degradation on the rears than I thought I would. One point is more than it could have been because I couldn’t drive the car in the proper way and I couldn’t save the tyres either. We maybe need to change something in the car to make the tyres work in a different way here in the future.”

Canadian GP post race: Williams

 Valtteri Bottas


Valtteri Bottas

 

Valtteri Bottas claimed the team’s first podium of the season, finishing third in today’s Canadian Grand Prix. Felipe Massa was forced to retire following a water system issue that caused his power unit to overheat on lap 36.

Bottas had a good start and managed to gain a position as a result of Rosberg going straight on at Turn 1. He made his only pitstop of the race on lap 23. Following his stop he was able to pass Ricciardo for fourth making his strategy work to move into third after Vestappen stopped on lap 46. Massa was running seventh before his only pitstop of the race on lap 22. He was managing his tyres well before being forced to retire.

The team collected 15 points to extend the gap to fifth-placed Force India to 39 points in the Constructors’ Championship.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “I think that was a really good race for us with a well-deserved podium. As we expected, the pace of the car in these conditions was good. We gave away very little to the frontrunners and we beat Red Bull on track, which is really positive. The strategy was absolutely spot on. When other teams were doing two stops, we held our nerve and stuck with our one-stop strategy as planned, and it all worked out very well for us.

“Valtteri drove a great race and the two pitstops that the pit crew did were really great as well. There’s a bitter aftertaste with the fact that we could have had both cars up there. Felipe would have finished anywhere from fourth to sixth so that’s a lot of points we’ve lost there with the water system issue that caused the temperatures to rise. We went through a series of counter measures to try and get round it, but none of them worked. We therefore had to take the decision to retire the car because the power unit is right at the start of its life.

“Overall I think it’s a really positive result for the team. We’ve extended the gap to the people behind us, and even with one car out of the points we’ve lost very little to third place. We’ve got lots of good races coming up now; Azerbaijan, Austria, Silverstone, they’re all positive races. We have to look forward now and keep this momentum going.”

Valtteri Bottas: “I’m very happy with what we achieved as a team today. It’s a shame with what happened to Felipe, but this gives us a big motivation boost for the next few races. I think today shows that we are a strong team who can deliver good results. Our strategy was great and our pitstop was really good, yet again. It was definitely one of my best races. I’m really pleased with today and looking forward to the next race.”

Felipe Massa: “Of course I’m very disappointed not to finish the race because of a mechanical issue that we had. It’s a race where we’re supposed to score good points with both cars, but unfortunately we didn’t with mine. So we need to concentrate on the next race now as it’s a shame that it ended like this.”

 

WH7I5876

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada. Sunday 12 June 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams Martini Racing, 3rd Position, celebrates in Parc Ferme. Photo: Steven Tee/Williams ref: Digital Image _H7I5895

Monaco post race: Williams

Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa with Jean Todt, President, FIA.

Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa with Jean Todt, President, FIA.

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Sunday 29 May 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams Martini Racing. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _89P4924

Bottas listening in…

 

Felipe Massa finished 10th and Valtteri Bottas 12th in today’s Monaco Grand Prix. Massa was able to take advantage of changing conditions throughout the race to move forward from his grid position as he switched from wet to intermediate and then dry tyres. But Bottas lost time in a pitstop and had further misfortune with traffic, which cost him track position.

Bottas finished the race 11th but was demoted to 12th by a 10-second time penalty, applied by the stewards for causing a collision with Gutierrez. Massa remains seventh and Bottas eighth in the Drivers’ Championship, while the team maintains fourth in the Constructors’ Championship

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “We got a point today. It’s not exactly what we want but one is better than none. We want a lot more and we’ll try a lot harder to get them. We were quite quick on dry tyres in that midfield pack, and Felipe set the fastest lap on the intermediate tyres, so the pace of the car wasn’t as bad as last year, which is a positive.

“Felipe drove a very clean race and got us a point. We kept him out on the extreme wet tyres and he got out in front of the pack held up behind Werhlein, so his race was pretty much set from there. We pitted Valtteri early for inters to try to release a bit of pace on that tyre. Unfortunately, we had a rear jack failure in the pitstop which cost us because that put him out behind Werhlein. His race was very difficult from then on because he couldn’t pass him. We could have got him P7-9 without that.

“Generally, the race was bittersweet. We’ve made really good progress around Monaco compared to the last two years, but we haven’t been able to convert that into the amount of points we should have done. Looking forward, we’re going to Canada, Azerbaijan, Austria and Great Britain – a series of races we can capitalise on. We’re still fourth in the championship, and Red Bull didn’t score the amount of points they could have. We’ve got good developments coming, and we won’t be giving up the fight this season.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was of course disappointing to finish outside the points. I think we really need to look at our strategy and why we lost a good position after the track was starting to dry. It’s possible we stopped at the wrong time, but the conditions were tricky today and it wasn’t an easy race.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a very tough day, having to start in the wet with laptimes of 1m 40s and upwards. It was looking like a very difficult race to finish, so the positive thing is I managed that. It was definitely the most difficult race weekend of the season so far, but one point is better than zero.”

 

Valtteri Bottas arrives in Parc Ferme.

…arrives in Parc Ferme…

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Sunday 29 May 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 Mercedes, arrives on the grid. Photo: Andrew Hone/Williams ref: Digital Image _ONZ6875

…on the grid….

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Sunday 29 May 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 Mercedes, makes a pit stop during the race. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q4539

…and a pit stop.

Monaco qualifying: Williams

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas

Monte Carlo, Monaco. Saturday 28 May 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams Martini Racing. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams ref: Digital Image _W2Q3951

Felipe Massa

 

Valtteri Bottas qualified 11th and Felipe Massa 14th for the Monaco Grand Prix. Both drivers comfortably progressed into Q2 after posting times of 1:15.521 (Bottas, 12th) and 1:15.710 (Massa, 15th) on ultrasoft tyres. The team’s performance at Monaco has improved from last year, but both drivers fell just short of making it into Q3. Bottas will start 10th on the grid, due to a five-place penalty for Kimi Raikkonen following a gearbox change.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “This isn’t where we want to be, but it’s a step better than where we were last year. We managed to get the most out of the car. If we put our top sectors together, we’d be in the back end of the top 10. If you look at our times against the top cars, we can see that we have made progress and it’s now clear where we need to develop the car if we want to go faster in Monaco.

“We have worked very hard to get the set-up better around here and now this is a car that could have scraped into the top 10. We can have a reasonable race tomorrow. Valtteri will start from a point-scoring position in 10th with a free choice of tyres, and Felipe 14th. With the attrition we usually see and with a decent tyre strategy, we can definitely get both cars into the points and that is our aim.”

Valtteri Bottas: “Obviously we’re not happy to be out of Q3, but we’ve made progress, which is good. We just need to try to make more – and there’s a good chance to get my first points here. This is one of the busiest races in terms of what happens on track with safety cars, so we need to take that opportunity to get some good points.”

Felipe Massa: “It wasn’t an easy qualifying for us. We were fighting for one tenth the whole time. Unfortunately, without that one tenth we are down a few positions. It’s really a shame because it’s just so close. It wasn’t our day for getting the most out of the car with what happened with the red flags, however the car is behaving well. It won’t be easy to get points but we’ll try the best we can.

Spanish GP post race: Williams

Felipe Massa makes a pit stop during the race.

Felipe Massa makes a pit stop during the race.

 

Valtteri Bottas finished fifth and Felipe Massa eighth in today’s Spanish Grand Prix. The team picked up 14 points to remain fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship, and move 39 points clear of fifth-placed Toro Rosso. A two-stop strategy for Bottas saw him finish fifth from seventh on the grid, benefitting from the two Mercedes colliding in the opening lap. Massa executed his three-stop strategy perfectly, benefitting from an early pitstop on lap 8, making up 10 track positons and finishing in the points. He finished just 1.169s adrift of seventh-placed Sergio Perez.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “I think Valtteri did a really good job. At the end of the first stint we asked him to push to overcut Sainz and Perez. We were about to call him in but we kept him on track so he could get the overcut, which worked well as Valtteri was very quick and pushing hard. After that, it was a straightforward race for him. Felipe’s race was much more complex. It was a much harder job to get those four points.

“I think we did a really good job in terms of strategy, which we switched around a little bit. We had planned a three-stop strategy, but we changed our tyre plan in the middle of the race to ensure Felipe had good pace to overtake and make progress when he needed to. We got him past the McLarens and onto the back of Perez, but he was unfortunately not able to pass at the end. That’s what we expected him to do in the race, and Felipe delivered.

“It was unfortunate he had to start from 18th, but we’ve all made mistakes and we’ve got to learn from them and do better next time. The pitwall worked well today and the pitstops were fantastic again; the team seems to be building in confidence as our stops continue to improve. Unfortunately, the car’s pace isn’t quick enough at the moment. Red Bull may have won today, but we won’t stop challenging them. We’ll keep pushing them as hard as we can, and in order to do that, we need more pace from the car.”

Valtteri Bottas: “I think we got the maximum today and I’m pleased to get decent points. We know our car wasn’t quick enough this weekend, but we had a good result, so that’s positive. Of course we would like to battle for the podiums and wins, but it wasn’t possible this weekend. We need to keep pushing on the development and we need more pace on these type of tracks. We knew that if something happened we could gain a couple of places, otherwise it was always going to be tricky, but this is racing. A lot of things can happen and this time we took a small advantage from it.”

Felipe Massa: “It was definitely a very good race for us with some good points, finishing eighth positon from starting 18th. It was a difficult race, and not on our best track to finish in the points, so I’m happy. I know we’ve lost points compared to Red Bull, but that’s the way it is.

“I am really happy for Max. I know what it means to win for the first time, and he is only 18-years-old at a top team. Looking forward to Monaco, I hope we can show that we have a better car for that type of track, as we have struggled there over the last two years. Monaco is Monaco though and anything can happen.”

 

Valtteri Bottas on the grid with Jonathan Eddolls, Race Engineer.

Valtteri Bottas on the grid with Jonathan Eddolls, Race Engineer.

Spanish GP qualifying: Williams

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas

 

Valtteri Bottas qualified seventh and Felipe Massa 18th for the Spanish Grand Prix. Both drivers had one planned run in Q1, with Valtteri posting a time of 1:24.251 to comfortably progress through into Q2, and go on to compete in the top ten shootout. Massa didn’t get a clean lap in Q1, with some traffic at the start of his timed lap. The team reacted in the closing minutes, but unfortunately there wasn’t sufficient time left to enable Massa to start another timed lap.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “Overall it’s a disappointing qualifying session. Our fastest car is in seventh position which is where we predicted we would get to, but it’s not enough. Valtteri did everything that he could with the car to get to that position, and we’re quite close to the Ferraris, which is positive. Felipe didn’t get his lap right and we didn’t have enough time to do another run, so we need to look at what’s gone wrong on his lap, because we had eight tenths of a margin to get through into Q2, and then we have to look at what we could have done better operationally as well.

“We’ll dissect everything, be open and honest, and do better. What we have to concentrate on now is the race today. Valtteri’s starting from a good position, and hopefully he can get some good points and get amongst the cars in front. With Felipe we need to be a little clever with the strategy, and think about what we can do in order to get into the back end of the points with him.”

 

_W2Q8998

Valtteri Bottas: “I was hoping for a bit better result, but it was a good lap so I am pleased with how we did in Q3. It’s a shame about Felipe. Today, we need to set the bar high and aim to be in the top five in the race. It’s possible with a good start and our strategy, so we’ll try to make up as many places as we can.”

Felipe Massa: “I’m so disappointed about what happened. I had traffic on my first run so I couldn’t do a clean lap. We didn’t have time to go out on another set of tyres. Traffic or problems on the lap can happen, but we still need to ensure we can react accordingly. It’s a long race today though, so we still need to aim to challenge for points.”

 

_W2Q9158

Australian GP – Williams images

And some nice ones as well…

 

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams Martini Racing. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image _89P5035

Valtteri Bottas

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams FW38 Mercedes, leads Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid, Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 TAG Heuer, Carlos Sainz Jr, Toro Rosso STR11 Ferrari, and the remainder of the field on the opening lap. Photo: Sam BloxhamWilliams F1 ref: Digital Image _L4R5038

Felipe Massa leads Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz Jr and the remainder of the field on the opening lap.

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams Martini Racing, has his photo taken with fans. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image _W2Q3072

Felipe Massa having his photo taken with fans.

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Felipe Massa, Williams FW38 Mercedes, arrives on the grid. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image _W2Q3776

Felipe Massa arrives on the grid.

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams Martini Racing, on the grid. Photo: Glenn Dunbar/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image _W2Q3810

Valtteri Bottas on the grid.

Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Sunday 20 March 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 Mercedes, makes a pit stop during the race. Photo: Steven Tee/Williams F1 ref: Digital Image _X0W6601

Valtteri Bottas makes a pit stop during the race.

Singapore GP post race: Williams

Valtteri Bottas finished the Singapore Grand Prix in fifth place, while team mate Felipe Massa was forced to retire. Bottas moved ahead of Kvyat during the final round of pitstops and comfortably held fifth position to the finish. Massa had to make an extra pit stop due to a slow puncture following contact from Hulkenberg’s Force India. He later retired with a gearbox problem.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It was an excellent race for Valtteri today. He showed great pace and the gap from qualifying disappeared, so we were fighting with Kvyat and Rosberg throughout the race. We made good strategic calls, when Kvyat pitted we stayed out knowing a safety car could come at any time, and we got ahead of him. Felipe getting tangled up with Hulkenberg, who subsequently received a penalty, was unfortunate and put us on the back foot with that car. His retirement was a gearbox problem, the car was jumping out of gear so we need to investigate that. I’m happy with the day but it’s tinged with disappointment because we’ve lost some points with Felipe’s car.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a good race for me. The start was good, the pace was a little bit better than we expected. I could put a bit of pressure on the guys in front and undercut some people. The pit crew did an amazing job today under pressure. We did what we had to, got our heads down and took our opportunities. This was the maximum result today so I’m pleased.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a very unlucky race for me. My problems started with the collision I had with Hulkenberg after my first stop. I was braking for the corner and he turned his car in on mine, leaving me with nowhere to go, so we hit. This caused a slow puncture on my front-right tyre and the extra pitstop put me back many positions. I then had a gearbox problem. I was changing gears from 2nd to 3rd and was getting neutral. It seemed to resolve itself but it happened again and I had to retire the car. It was one of those races where things just weren’t going my way. We need to concentrate on recovering some of our lost points at the next race.”

Monza post race: Williams

Felipe Massa claimed his second podium of the season in front of a cheering Italian crowd in Monza. Valtteri Bottas finished in fourth, pushing his teammate hard in the final laps. After good starts for both cars they ran third and fourth until Rosberg’s quicker pitstop allowed him to jump ahead of both cars after the one and only round of stops. Both drivers capitalised on Rosberg stopping on track in the late stages of the race to claim a valuable 27 points for the team.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “It was a good race for the team. The mandate from the start of the weekend was that we had to have a clean weekend. If there were 15 points on the table, we had to come away with 15 points. The great news is that we’ve taken 27 points and a podium. We’ve moved away from the people behind us in fourth by a good amount, which was the absolute priority. We’ve kept pace with Ferrari, so in championship terms it’s been a good weekend for us. We came out of what was not a particularly good race in Belgium, from both a performance and operational point of view, and we’ve reacted really well. The team were absolutely spot on all weekend which is a great show of the strength and depth we have at Williams now.”

Felipe Massa: “It’s really emotional to have been on the podium. It was a difficult but fantastic race. I didn’t have the best start but I was still able to pass cars so it was good enough. I worked hard to open the gap to Valtteri, but when I pitted early it gave him the advantage on tyres at the end of the race. It was hard to keep him behind as he really wanted it, but I just about managed it. I am delighted for myself and the team, we got a lot of valuable points. It’s special to be up on the podium at Monza again, and I really thank the team for their effort today.”

Valtteri Bottas: “It was a good result for the team today, good points which is important. My pit stop lost me too much time which was crucial for the second part of the race. I managed to get extremely close in the end but it was too late. As I saved my tyres and brakes I was able to attack in the final laps but we had system issues on the last lap, so we need to investigate what happened because I also lost an opportunity there. It’s a shame for me that I couldn’t be on the podium but it’s still good points for us.”

%d bloggers like this: