Williams’ Rob Smedley: “The damage has been limited”

Felipe Massa - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Williams Martini Racing’s Head of Performance Engineering, Rob Smedley, felt the result of the Singapore Grand Prix could have been a lot worse for the team had some of their rivals maximised their potential on Sunday.

With Felipe Massa finishing outside the points in twelfth and Valtteri Bottas retiring around half distance, neither Williams driver added to their points tally, but with Nico Hülkenberg retiring for Force India, Sergio Perez’s eighth place finish meant they only lost out on four points to their rivals for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.

Smedley revealed that Bottas’ retirement was precautionary as they felt there was some mechanical damage on his car, while Massa’s race was compromised by traffic that left him floundering outside the top ten as the chequered flag fell.

“It was a difficult race, starting from 10th and 11th,” said Smedley. “Valtteri’s race was almost done on that first lap when he got a puncture and dropped to the back. We suspected he had mechanical damage after his last pit stop, so the best thing to do was retire the car.

“For Felipe, we chose to go on a three-stop strategy to give us a bigger tyre delta at the end, but throughout the pit stops and through the traffic we just seemed to be on the back foot. Coming out behind Gutierrez after that final stop cost us because we might have been able to get onto the back of that Perez train at the end, on a better tyre, but that’s racing.

“For a circuit like this, and in terms of where we are in the championship, the damage has been limited. The teams around us didn’t get the points they could have done so we’ve been quite lucky.”