The Williams Martini Racing team continued their excellent return to form with a third podium finish in three races for Valtteri Bottas at the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, but team-mate Felipe Massa was the unfortunate victim of an opening lap crash that saw the Brazilian flip over in a first lap crash with the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen. Luckily the Brazilian was able to walk away unscathed.
Bottas took his third consecutive podium and his second consecutive runners-up spot in Germany, and was able to keep the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton behind him over the closing laps. He is delighted to be challenging for the podium, but is hopeful to be challenging for a win sooner rather than later.
“I am really happy with the way the race went today,” said Bottas. “As a team we have been unlucky not to have both drivers on the podium as we had the pace. To keep a Mercedes behind at the end of the race was promising showing that it is possible, and the car is very strong. The engineers shared a lot of information with me about the tyres and where Hamilton was and that team work was the key to the good result.
“I think today was the maximum result. We did everything perfectly and managed to keep Lewis behind in the end, which got us an extra few points, but in the future, we are definitely aiming for more and this is not the maximum.
“I feel really lucky to be part of this. Last year we could not have expected to be three times in a row on the podium but we are now. This is the package we have and it’s all down to hard work and we need to always keep aiming for more. Of course, it feels really good to be [on the podium] for a third time in a row but I think we’re aiming for more than that now.”
Team-mate Massa was less fortunate, and for the second race in a row saw his race ended on the opening lap of the race through no fault of his own. The stewards deemed his scary looking crash with Kevin Magnussen a racing incident after the McLaren-Mercedes driver caused the Williams driver to flip over at the first corner, but the Brazilian was quick to blame the Dane for the accident.
“Luckily I am ok but I am not happy,” said Massa. “I was in front going into the corner, and so to have another race ended by another driver is not easy. I am doing my best, the team are doing their best, and we just aren’t getting the chances we need. Going into the first corner I was near to Valtteri but had to back off to stop an accident, sadly some others didn’t do the same. I am obviously very disappointed.
“It was a bit more scary watching than being inside. I am fine. I didn’t have any impact. The only thing is I am so disappointed with what happened – another race where a car put me out. Well done to Valtteri, it shows we have the car to get on the podium.”
Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley was happy to see Bottas take his third consecutive podium finish but is hoping the bad luck affecting Massa is now over so the team can get both drivers into contention for the podium.
“We have only one car home today, so we are not as happy as we could be,” said Smedley. “However, Valtteri did a fantastic job and the guys on the pit wall were exceptional. We kept calm and did what we needed to do. Our strategy at times was different to others, but we kept our confidence and Valtteri pushed when we needed him to.
“We have overtaken Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship, which is the reward for our continuing improvements. We just need that bad luck for Felipe to stop, as our aim now is to get both cars on the podium.”