Rob Smedley admitted the two-stop strategy for Valtteri Bottas did not work at the German Grand Prix.
Unlike other drivers on the grid, Bottas was on a two-stop strategy at the Hockenheimring. In the early stages of the Grand Prix, he was positioned in fifth benefiting from his competitors pitting. Following Nico Hulkenberg’s final stop, the Williams Martini Racing driver was fifteen seconds clear of the Sahara Force India.
With severely worn tyres, Bottas was unable to hold onto that position and had to settle for ninth ahead of Sergio Perez. Felipe Massa had a disappointing Grand Prix as well after he had to retire on Lap 36. The veteran Brazilian was clipped by the Renault Sport of Jolyon Palmer.
This incident affected the pace of the FW38, with the issue not able to be identified or resolved, the Grove-based outfit thought it would be best if Massa retired from the race.
“Felipe was hit in the rear in Turn 6 on lap one and there wasn’t a great deal we could do from then on,” said Smedley. “We were trying to understand what the problem was as Felipe was completely off the pace and complaining about the car.
“There was no alternative other than to retire because he was towards the back of the field and struggling.”
Smedley believes ninth at the German Grand Prix was the best they could achieve. The team will put this disappointment behind them to focus on the second half of the 2016 Formula 1 season, where they will keep on pushing for points. Heading into the three-week Summer break, Williams are fourth in the Constructors’ Championship with a total of 96 points.
“With Valtteri, we tried a strategy which clearly didn’t work,” admitted Smedley. “We deployed the wrong tactics in the race, which is something we’ve got to learn from. As a group of people, we get it right most of the time, but today we didn’t.
“We thought the tyres would go to the end but they didn’t and so ninth was the best we could achieve, unfortunately. It hasn’t been a great day but this is where we see the mettle of everyone moving forward and make sure we don’t let our heads go down.
“We’ll carry on improving and trying to do the absolute maximum that we can do with the car that we’ve got. We’ll keep pushing on.”