The Williams Formula 1 team believes a sequence of small errors were to blame for Felipe Massa not converting pole position into a better result at the Austrian Grand Prix.
The Brazilian scored his first F1 pole position since the 2008 Brazilian GP at the Red Bull Ring, but slipped to fourth in the race, behind Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, and his Williams teammate Valtteri Bottas. Although Williams does not believe it was genuinely fighting for victory in Austria, the team’s head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley said it was “hugely disappointing” that Massa had dropped from first to fourth.
“As I said in the round-up to the team, we can’t be happy that we had a car in first position and after one pit stop come out fourth to me that’s hugely disappointing,” Smedley said. “But there are mitigating circumstances: Felipe’s in-lap was slower than Valtteri’s, Valtteri did the record for Williams in racing with that pit stop so that gained him another eight tenths or whatever and Felipe also struggled on the out-lap with tire warm-up, which he didn’t on the second stint.
“My message to everybody after the race was, ‘When you’re racing at the sharp end like this, it’s all the little details [that count], and when you get a series of details wrong that’s what happens you go from first to fourth.’
“That’s not good enough and we can’t be happy with that.”
AUSTRIA SUITED WILLIAMS
Smedley said the efficiency of the Williams FW36 made it genuinely the second fastest car around the Red Bull Ring, allowing the team to secure its biggest points haul of the season so far.
“We have a very efficient car with a lower drag level than our competitors, and here if you look at the circuit efficiency in terms of the sensitivity for drag and sensitivity for lift, it’s quite an efficient circuit, so it suits us,” Smedley added. “There’s also a high power sensitivity here, so if you have a more powerful engine, that suits us as well.
“I don’t think there’s any magic. We had genuinely the second-fastest car. Mercedes, without problems, had around three tenths on us, plus slightly longer tire life, so of course they were in a better position.”