It was a case of what might have been for the Williams F1 team in Canada. Felipe Massa was having a very strong race and was on the back of the fight for the lead when he collided with the Force India of Sergio Perez that saw both drivers crash out. For team-mate Valtteri Bottas, it was the other Force India that cost him a good result; the Finn was caught behind Nico Hulkenberg’s car that resulted in engine and brake temperatures rising critically high.
Massa had one of his strongest races of the year in Montreal but a last lap clash with the Force India of Sergio Perez eliminated both drivers. The Brazilian clipped the back of the Mexican’s car and ended up in the turn one barriers. Up until then he had been one of the quickest drivers on track.
“I was one of the quickest guys on the track, so we lost many points today,” said Massa. “I’m happy that I’m here with no problems but I’m so disappointed for what happened with Perez, and also for the pit stop because I think maybe we could even have fought for victory today. But it shows we have a good car and I’m convinced the next race will be better.”
Team-mate Bottas was also disappointed about how his race materialised. The Finn was running strongly until the second round of pit stops, and then ended up stuck behind the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg that resulted in his engine and brake temperatures rocketing. He was forced to manage the car to get it home and eventually finished seventh when a top five finish was more than possible.
“Not our day really,” said Bottas. “The beginning of the race was ok but Red Bull was a little bit stronger than expected, so we were looking to fight for fourth position. We need to look back at the second pit stop in terms of timing and the stop because I didn’t come back out where I should have. I was then in traffic, stuck behind the Force India, which overheated the engine and brakes, and I had to save everything to get to the flag.”
Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley was disappointed at the end result for the team, believing a lot of points were lost. Both cars were strong in free air, but with Massa crashing out with Perez and with Bottas suffering with engine and brake temperature issues when stuck behind Hulkenberg, the team left Montreal with only six points rather than at least twenty.
“It’s massively disappointing to lose that position with Felipe at the end,” said Smedley. “It looked like he was going to get past Perez and they’ve had a collision. Valtteri’s race was going well but we were a little bit hot, having to manage engine and brake temperatures, as a lot of other cars were. That dropped him to ninth, which was recovered to seventh with Felipe’s accident.
“In free air the car was very quick, but we’ve lost a lot of points that we should have picked up today.”