Williams Martini Racing: Austrian Grand Prix

July 5, 2016

It was a challenging race for the Williams Martini Racing team with Valtteri Bottas finished ninth in the Austrian Grand Prix, while Felipe Massa retired from the race.

Valtteri ran inside the top 10 for the duration of the race on his two-stop strategy, but was unable to gain positions as he struggled with tyre graining.

Felipe started from the pitlane due to a front wing change following structural damage sustained in qualifying. For this race Felipe was also on a two-stop strategy and had climbed into the points before he was force to retire with high brake temperatures on lap 63.

Valtteri retains seventh in the Drivers’ Championship while Felipe drops to ninth behind Perez, while the team stays fourth in the hotly contested Constructors’ Championship.

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: Our race with Felipe was dictated by our first priority, which is safety. We found some structural damage on his front wing, which we believe was caused by vibrations over the curbs. We changed it for safety reasons which meant he had to start from the pitlane, so his race was never going to be easy. We started him on the option tyre and ran for as long as we could before he had graining. Then we put on the prime and he was looking good. Unfortunately, he picked up a puncture due to a cut in the tyre, so we had to pit and put him back on the option. We subsequently had to retire him because of brake wear when the temperatures rocketed while he was behind Gutierrez, so that was the only safe thing to do. Valtteri’s race wasn’t as eventful but we were only able to get a couple of points. He struggled with graining, so his pace wasn’t where he should be because the way he manages tyres is usually one of the best in the pitlane. Unfortunately, as a group, I don’t think we’ve understood this asphalt and rubber combination, so that’s the first thing we need to do.
Valtteri Bottas: We definitely expected more points today. The main problem was getting the tyres to work and to last, so that is something we need to understand before Silverstone because the temperatures could be similar to what they were here today. I don’t think our car was too bad this weekend, we just really struggled to get the tyres to work. It was a disappointing day, but it’s going to be very important to learn from today to move on.
Felipe Massa: The race was going ok for me, I was fighting and gaining positions from the start and I had a very good pace during most of the race. Unfortunately, I had a puncture and had to pit for new tyres. I had been saving the brakes for the whole race, but at the end I was close behind Gutierrez so the temperatures rose even more and I had to stop.

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