The Williams Martini Racing team moved further ahead of Ferrari at the Russian Grand Prix after Valtteri Bottas finished on the podium at Sochi, and although Felipe Massa missed out on points in Russia, he still showed good pace after a mechanical problem in qualifying.
Heading into the United States Grand Prix at Austin, the two drivers are aiming for another strong result so to move the team further away from the Italian team in the Constructors’ Championship, with the gap currently 28 points.
Bottas secured his first points of his F1 career at Austin in 2013, and heads into this years event high on confidence after finishing on the podium for the fifth time in Sochi three weeks ago. The Finn is looking to finish in the top three once more at Austin as Williams continue to fight Ferrari for third place in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Austin is a really cool track, one of the best on the calendar,” stated Bottas. “The city is nice, the fans and atmosphere are great, so it’s one of the best places of the season to go to. I have good memories from there as I got my first points in Formula 1 in Austin last season.
“We are definitely targeting to be on the podium again and extend the advantage we have on Ferrari in the Constructors’ points. Everyone is feeling positive about Texas, so it should be fun.”
Team-mate Massa missed out on points in Russia after a fuel problem during qualifying left him towards the back of the field, but is hopeful of returning to the points this weekend in the United States. He, like many of the other drivers in the field admits to finding the Austin track fun to drive.
“The track in Austin is great as there is a real mix of high and low speed corners with some very technical areas,” said Massa. “Sector one is very quick, similar to Suzuka, with a long straight which gives us the chance for overtaking. It’s a fun track to drive and one where we can have a good result.
“Austin is also a really great place with such enthusiasm for Formula One so let’s hope for a good weekend.”
Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley knows the importance of having a balanced car at Austin, and believes the track is good at testing all the aspects of the car. He insists the team are aiming to finish with both drivers inside the top ten so to continue to hold off the challenge of Ferrari for third.
“Austin is always a challenge and a really good circuit,” insisted Smedley. “It comprises of a good layout including a nice high speed section at the start. A well-balanced car is important to make you quick in the first sector. Depending on the tyre compound, the slower sections can have an effect on graining so we have to monitor that. It’s a good track to test all aspects of the car.
“The weather always plays a part as it can be quite cool, but sometimes also very hot. The track improves a lot throughout the race weekend, which means we have to react quickly to these changes. Once again we are aiming for both cars in the points at the end of the race.”