Team-mate head to head: Williams Martini Racing

Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 23 July 2016. Valtteri Bottas, Williams FW38 Mercedes, leads Felipe Massa, Williams FW38 Mercedes. Photo: Andrew Hone/Williams ref: Digital Image _ONZ2392. Credit: Williams Martini Racing

The Williams Martini Racing team has struggled to optimise their performance so far this season, and despite bringing countless updates to the FW38, progressing out of the midfield order has been rare so far this year.

It has therefore been tough going for the Oxfordshire based squads drivers, who had much stronger equipment at their disposal in 2015. You have to take the rough with the smooth in F1 however, and although they sit behind Mercedes AMG PETRONAS, Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari in the standings, both will no doubt look to step up their game in the second half of the season.

TCF take a look at how Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa have fared in comparison to each other at the halfway point of 2016, in our head-to-head report.

Williams F1 Driver Studio Images. February 2016. Valtteri Bottas. Photo: Williams F1 Team ref: Digital Image _89P7600. Credit: Williams Martini Racing
Valtteri Bottas – Credit: Williams Martini Racing
Williams F1 Driver Studio Images. February 2016. Felipe Massa. Photo: Williams F1 Team ref: Digital Image _89P7467. Credit: Williams Martini Racing
Felipe Massa – Credit: Williams Martini Racing
Great Britain614Great Britain1211
Hungary10 9Hungary1818

In 2015 the Williams team-mate’s were more or less neck-a-neck as far as points and results were concerned, a fact that surprised many as it was thought that Bottas would easily outshine his more experienced partner, but Massa prevailed to show that there was still life in the old dog yet!

This year however, the Brazilian is looking like his days in F1 could be numbered, with an error strewn start to the season, particularly during practice sessions. Though he started the year off well, the 35-year-old has had three DNF’s so far this year. The first coming in Canada, where after crashing out in FP1 following a problem with DRS (his second big practice shunt after a crash in Monaco just two weeks prior to that), Massa then encountered a water system issue that caused his PU to overheat during the race, forcing him to retire when in fifth place. Team-mate Bottas meanwhile, went on to make the podium, coming home in a fantastic third place, the team’s best result of the season.

In Austria, Massa suffered another non-finish, following a problem with rising brake temperatures, having already started the race from the pits because of a front wing problem on the formation lap. Bottas meanwhile took ninth place, but struggled massively with tyre degradation and only just managed to keep the Manor Racing Team car of Pascal Wehrlein behind him at the chequered flag.

The final race of the season before the summer break in Germany, saw a further no result for the Brazilian, with things not looking likely to pick up for the 38-year-old any time soon. After being hit by Renault Sport F1 Team driver Jolyon Palmer at the start of the race, Massa was forced to retire halfway through proceedings, as he battled to control the FW38 for most of the race.

Bottas on the other hand has put in some stronger displays this year, particularly in Canada at a track where the Finn has fared well in previous years too. He did well to hold off the competition after committing to a one-stop strategy that left him with seriously worn tyres towards the end of the race, but managed them well to cling on and claim that final podium spot. Bottas has looked the more likely of the two to pull off a result that will move Williams closer to the top teams, though has perhaps not quite produced the spark that had Ferrari interested in signing the 26-year-old earlier in the season.

In terms of qualifying, the Finn has the jump on the Brazilian too, starting higher up the grid on eight more occasions than Massa, with stats of ten to two, and has finished ahead of the 35-year-old at every race since Canada, barring the British Grand Prix. Bottas currently has the upper-hand on his team-mate in the Driver’s Championship and it is more than likely, that edge will continue in the latter half of the season.


With both drivers out of contract at Williams at the conclusion of the 2016 season, and the team keeping all options open, my money would be on Bottas remaining with the Oxfordshire based squad whilst Massa, could quite possibly be shown the door if his performances in the latter half of the season do not improve.

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