The Williams Martini Racing team confirmed its strong pace around the Red Bull Ring by securing third and fourth place at the Austrian Grand Prix behind the two Mercedes drivers. Valtteri Bottas took his first podium finish in Formula One in third, with pole sitter Felipe Massa one place behind him in fourth at the flag.
Bottas lost a place to Mercedes driver and eventual race winner Nico Rosberg on the run down to the first corner on the opening lap but retook that spot before turn two, and ended up taking his maiden podium finish in Formula 1. The Finn praised the hard work of his team and wants them all to enjoy the result of the race at the Red Bull Ring.
“It’s difficult to explain how I feel right now,” said Bottas. “That was the best champagne I’ve ever tasted. All the hard work that the team puts in shows in moments like this. I had one pit stop that really put in me in the fight and that changed my race, so well done to the boys for that. I had put in a good lap before that and so I got in front on Felipe and from there I could manage my pace with the cars in front.
“Having both cars score good points is what we wanted and so third and fourth for the team is a great result. There are still two places to go up the podium, but for now we will enjoy this moment.”
Team-mate Massa finished just over nine seconds behind Bottas in fourth, and was happy for his Finnish team-mate to secure the podium. He felt his own race was slightly disappointing due to losing three positions at his first pit stop, but was able to control the gap to the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso who threatened to close down the Williams driver in the final stint of the race.
“I am very happy for Valtteri, he did a great job,” said Massa. “We had a good fight with the Mercedes but it was clear we were never going to win. I had to manage my tyres the whole race and also struggled with traffic. To stop first and come back out fourth is a bit disappointing but that’s racing.
“It was a positive weekend for the whole team and an emotional one as well. The main thing is that we got 27 points which means we move up in the Constructors’ Championship. We have progressed a lot but there still work to do to close the gap to Mercedes.”
Rob Smedley, the Head of Performance Engineering at Williams, believed the team got the best result possible out of the Austrian Grand Prix. The management work done by the drivers to conserve the brakes, tyres and other systems on the car meant third and fourth behind the Mercedes was the perfect result on the day and stated that the team should be proud of their efforts.
“I believe we got everything out of today that we could have done,” said Smedley. “It was a difficult race in terms of managing brakes, systems on the car and tyres, and that dictated what we could do with strategy. The two car crews did a great job to manage tyres and get us to the end of the race and both drivers drove a sensible race.
“Considering where the team was 12 months ago, to where we are today, everyone should be very proud of this result and enjoy this moment. Securing 27 points is a great result today.”