The Williams F1 team had their best qualifying session of the season in Montreal, and the team will see their Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas starting fourth, one place ahead of Brazilian team-mate Felipe Massa in fifth.
Both drivers thought that third place on the grid was possible behind the two Mercedes drivers, but Bottas encountered traffic and Massa’s lap was scruffy to leave them behind Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull.
For Bottas it was his second consecutive top four qualifying effort in Canada, having qualified third in 2013 in the wet. He is looking forward to the race and possibly challenging the Red Bull’s for a podium.
“We need to be happy with the result,” said Bottas. “It was really, really close. On the last run there was some traffic, which cost the opportunity to improve the time, but luckily I had done a good lap on the first run in Q3.
“We’ve been competitive all weekend so I’m looking forward to the race. I’m very happy with the car, we’ve made so much progress. I know we can challenge Red Bull here and we have great straight-line speed, so we’ll see.” Team-mate Massa was also pleased with the effort of the team and the speed of the car, and is in a confident frame of mind as the race approaches. The Brazilian is hoping that he and the team can have a good Sunday.
“It was a good session, definitely our car shows good performance,” said Massa. “It was very tight from position three to six, with five cars in one tenth, so P3 was possible. Unfortunately I didn’t have the perfect lap and it wasn’t enough to be third, but I cannot be disappointed.
“I feel really happy for the car we have. The race is long so let’s try to do a good one tomorrow, I’m confident we can have a good, competitive race.”
Rob Smedley, the head of Performance Engineering at Williams had mixed feelings after qualifying. He was happy to see both of his drivers in the top five, but was also disappointed that it was not a second-row lock out.
“I’m pleased,” insisted Smedley. “The guys have done a really good job to get tyre warm-up turned around and make sure the drivers were comfortable in the first sector. I’m pleased with the set-up and the balance, the engineers and drivers have done a great job.
“There’s just a small bitter taste in my mouth that we’re not third and fourth, but that’s just my personal competitive spirit. It was a good job by the team and the drivers today and now we need to convert this into lots of points tomorrow.”