The Williams F1 team came back to the scene of their last grand prix win back in 2012 hopeful of qualifying in the top ten, but were delighted to see Valtteri Bottas set the fourth quickest time in the session. Felipe Massa had been the quickest of the two drivers up to the final part of qualifying but a mistake on his fast lap left him down in ninth.
Rob Smedley, the head of Performance Engineering at Williams praised the upgrades the team brought to the Circuit de Catalunya, and was happy with how the drivers performed during the session but knows there is hard work to be done to get points on Sunday.
“I am very happy as the session went really well,” said Smedley. “The pace of the cars was excellent. It is a hot track that demands a lot of downforce and the upgrades we brought here have really helped that. The pieces we have brought have worked really well.
“Felipe has qualified out of position as he was very fast in Q1 and Q2 but didn’t quite get the best final lap. There is a lot of work to do for tomorrow, but we are looking positive and are after some good points.”
For Bottas, he had struggled for pace right up to the final part of qualifying, but a mighty effort left him fourth, ahead of both Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso in their Ferrari’s legitimately on pace.
”It has been quite a tough weekend up until now,” said Bottas. “I had to build a lot of confidence but it all came together when it mattered and I managed to get a good lap. We have made some set-up changes since FP3 and they worked well but it will be even better in the race.
“It’s difficult to overtake here and so qualifying is important. It’s going to be a close race behind the Mercedes and so I am really looking forward to it.”
Team-mate Massa was disappointed in himself after a mistake cost him valuable time and left him down in ninth on the grid, but felt he could have been up with his team-mate on the grid without that error.
”I am disappointed with my lap today as I lost the rear in Turn 10 after braking, it’s nothing to do with the car, it was my mistake,” said Massa. “I had been doing really well throughout the rest of the session so feel annoyed I didn’t do it when it really mattered.
“The race is long tomorrow and the car has good potential so we have a lot to do.”