Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas both found themselves involved in first corner collisions as Williams Martini Racing endured mixed fortunes at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Bottas found himself chasing down the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg at the end of the race to finish in 7th, while his teammate Massa suffered a problem during his first pit stop that dropped him to the back of the field. The Brazilian fought hard but could only mange to finish the race in 15th.
Massa initially made a great start to the race but made contact with the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso going into turn one when he swept across the track trying to find a gap. Bottas also found himself in the wars going into turn one as he bumped wheels with Nico Rosberg who was breaking hard.
“It was a good race for me,” said Bottas. “Despite some hard contact at the start which cost me a few positions. I also had to drive the whole race without telemetry which isn’t the easiest thing to do.”
It’s been a frustrating start to the season for Williams, and for Massa in particular. He currently sits in 11th place in the Drivers Championship with 12 points, which is exactly half the amount his teammate has who is up in 7th. The Chinese Grand Prix could only add to his frustration.
“I had another great start today and we were fighting at the top. I felt some contact with Fernando but luckily the car wasn’t damaged – There was a mistake at the first pitstop and that effectively lost me the race as I came back out on track in last position.”
“It is a frustrating situation and something we need to work on to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. We have time to work hard and improve the car for Spain.”
Head of Vehicle Performance, Rob Smedley still has a lot of confidence in the cars overall pace and says the team remain optimistic for Barcelona in three weeks.
“It’s bittersweet really as the car was quick,” said Smedley. “We had a good strategy and the team worked well together. It’s a shame for Felipe, about the pitstop and it is something that we need to investigate to ensure it doesn’t happen again, as it cost us points today.”
“To have one car in the top ten shows that we have the pace and that gives us continued optimism, so we will take the positives forward to Spain.”