Claire Williams: “I am exceptionally proud of the team today”

The Williams Martini Racing team ended their strong 2014 season with their first double podium finish since the 2005 Monaco Grand Prix, with Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finishing second and third in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Massa had a strong race to finish second, his best result of the year, and took a gamble to switch to the Supersoft tyre for the final stint, and got within three seconds of race winner Lewis Hamilton by the end. He didn’t think he would have had the opportunity to win but was happy to have been in the position to take podiums towards the end of 2014.

“It was a close race, I didn’t think the victory was there, but it was so close at the end,” said Massa. “It was good to be racing and pushing the Mercedes. I hope this is a strong building block to go on for next year.

“The team progressed so much throughout the year, which is why we were able to get podiums in the second half of the season; we will continue this forward movement into next year.”

Bottas recovered from a bad start where he dropped to eighth to finish third, and was a little surprised to stand on the podium after his compromised opening to the race. He is already eager to get back on track in 2015 and improve on his fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship that he secured ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.

“We were very competitive today,” said Bottas. “I got a bad start and the race was compromised after I was stuck behind a few cars, so to walk away with a podium is incredible. It was a good race; I could really push and fight.

“The team has grown and developed throughout the season, from our first race in Melbourne to our best result here. It’s a great start to build on for next year and to continue the team’s great history.”

Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams was proud of her drivers and team, especially with the double podium and moving up to third place in the Constructors Championship having finished a lowly ninth in 2013. She feels this season has been a good first step for the team as they aim to continue progressing back towards the front.

“I am exceptionally proud of the team today,” expressed Williams. “To go from P9 last year to P3 in 2014 is amazing. The work to turn the team around has been hard, but I am so happy to see the smiles back on the faces of the people that work here.

“This is just the first step in a great future for Williams. We must congratulate Mercedes on winning both Championships and thank Mercedes HPP for all their effort throughout the season.”

Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley felt the double podium was a perfect way to end a very impressive season for the team, and felt the achievement of finishing third in the championship was the reward for everyone who has stuck with the team through thick and thin.

“It was a fitting end to the season,” insisted Smedley. “The team has come on over the year in an incredible fashion. To get our best result of the season in the final race is a fitting tribute to all the work we have done.

“It’s been over ten years since Williams was last P3 in the Constructors’ and that is testament to the effort that the guys have made, many of whom have been here through the tough times are now reaping the benefit of their commitment.”