It was a nightmare day in Singapore for the Williams Martini Racing team. After the highs of their fifth podium finish of the season in Italy two weeks ago, their Friday free practice sessions around the Marina Bay circuit saw both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas struggle for grip and for pace.
After taking his first podium finish of the season last time out at Monza, Massa was expecting more from his car in Singapore, having finished seventeenth in free practice two. He knows the team will have to make good gains overnight and into free practice three to have a good weekend.
“It was a very difficult day today as we were struggling a lot to balance the car and we need to resolve this tonight otherwise it will be a tough weekend for us,” said Massa. “We saw some improvement between FP1 and FP2, but we need to find more gains in FP3 if we are to have a qualifying that would satisfy us.
“We knew that this track wouldn’t suit our car as much as recent power circuits, but we have done lots of tests that will help us tomorrow.”
Team-mate Bottas was also disappointed with the Friday running, having been slower than Massa in both sessions, ultimately ending eighteenth in FP2. He feels the car is much more difficult to drive than in recent races, and if the team cannot improve significantly on Saturday, the Finnish driver is expecting a very tough Singapore weekend.
“Today wasn’t an easy day for us as we struggled with the balance of the car from the very beginning, especially with the rear,” said Bottas. “The primary focus tonight will be squeezing more lap time from the option tyre as we only gained half a second over the prime, whilst other teams gained as much as two seconds.
“I don’t think the position we have finished today is truly reflective, but the car is certainly not as easy to drive here as it has been recently so we need to work hard to find more lap time.”