The Williams Martini Racing team were down to just one car before the race even begun in Australia, with Valtteri Bottas being forced to skip the race with a back injury, but Felipe Massa was able to finish fourth, just a few seconds away from the podium.
Massa was disappointed to miss out on that podium finish, when he was leapfrogged by the Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel during the pit stop window after the Brazilian was held up enough by Daniel Ricciardo on track. He believes the car is strong, and is looking forward to being in contention for a podium finish again in Malaysia.
“The aim of today was start the season with a solid points haul and demonstrate that we have a competitive car,” said Massa. “We have managed to achieve much of what we wanted so this has been a positive start.
“The only disappointing part of the race was that I was jumped at the first pit stop by Vettel after losing a second and a half behind Ricciardo on my out-lap which was enough to lose the position.
“I have faith in the team and the car and we head to Malaysia knowing we are very much in the fight.”
Bottas was disappointed to be forced to watch the race from the sidelines due to the back injury suffered in qualifying, but respected the decision from the medical team. He insists he will work hard to be fit enough to return to the seat in Malaysia in a fortnight’s time, believing the car is quick enough to finish on the podium.
“I have done a lot of work since the issue with my back came in qualifying to get myself ready, starting treatment immediately, so the news that I couldn’t race today was obviously disappointing but I respect the decision,” reflected Bottas.
“I now have two weeks until the next race to receive further treatment to ensure I will be back to full fitness and even stronger in Malaysia.
“I’m very eager to get back in the car and race because the FW37 is looking competitive and I’m confident we can fight for podiums.”