The Williams Martini Racing team extended their good run of form with another podium finish at Spa-Francorchamps for Valtteri Bottas, but Felipe Massa’s race was ruined early after acquiring debris upon his car from the shredded tyre of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Bottas secured his fourth podium finish of the 2014 F1 season in confident style, overtaking a number of cars when he had the opportunity to. He felt he had a solid day behind the wheel having achieved his aim of a podium finish.
“Our pace was solid today and a lot better than in qualifying, with some good battles with the Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s, and I think third was probably the right result,” said Bottas. “I was stuck behind slower cars at the beginning which made the first stint difficult, but I managed to make my way past cars when it was needed and that was important for my race.
“We came into this race aiming for a podium and it is very satisfying to achieve that after an up and down weekend with tricky weather and Felipe being very unlucky today with debris.”
Team-mate Massa was unfortunate to pick up debris from Hamilton’s tyre early on that compromised his pace, seeing the Brazilian fall off the pace by up to two seconds a lap before the team removed the debris in his second pit stop on lap 21m after which his pace improved dramatically. He hopes his luck will change soon, as he feels ready to have a good result.
“Unfortunately at the beginning of the race I had some tyre debris stuck in the floor that came from Hamilton’s car and this made the car very slow, losing about two seconds per lap,” complained Massa. “This wasn’t removed until my second pit stop and after that I was nearly three seconds quicker and the fastest car on track, but at this point it was too late for me to really do anything.
“Obviously I’m very disappointed that something like this has hurt my race and I just hope that in Monza my luck will change and I am able to put the car in the sort of position it is capable of.”
Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley praised Bottas for a fantastic drive to his fourth podium of the season, but was frustrated to see Massa struggle with the debris from Hamilton’s tyre being stuck to his car for a good proportion of the race.
“Valtteri had a brilliant result today, putting in a really mature drive and passing cars when he needed to thanks to the impressive chassis and power unit package,” said Smedley. “The strategy worked perfectly for us as well; we stuck to our plan and this paid dividends. Felipe was incredibly unlucky, picking up a large amount of debris from Hamilton’s tyre that stayed under his car for 20 laps and probably cost him about 40 seconds in total with his compromised pace and strategy.
“As we are continuing to do, we need to improve our operations. This has not been a straightforward weekend so to finish with a car on the podium is a decent result and we look forward to Monza.”