Williams’ Rob Smedley: “We did our best in difficult conditions”

Valtteri Bottas leads Felipe Massa in Brazil - Credit: Glenn Dunbar/Williams

Rob Smedley admitted it was disappointing to see so many interruptions to the Brazilian Grand Prix that prevented the Williams Martini Racing team from being able to take advantage of an early switch to Intermediate tyres.

Valtteri Bottas ultimately missed out on points in eleventh at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace on Sunday, but Felipe Massa retired from his final Brazilian Grand Prix before the end, but the Head of Performance Engineering of the Grove-based team was disappointed the Intermediate switch gamble was not profitable.

“We knew we needed to do something different to get in the points,” said Smedley. “We hoped the rain would ease off enough to cause the extreme wet tyre to wear, so that our early decision to switch to the intermediates would give us the advantage.

“Unfortunately, with all the safety cars and red flag periods, it allowed everyone to keep changing their wet tyres for fresh ones, so we never saw the benefit. We did our best in difficult conditions but the safety cars and stoppages didn’t help us.”

Smedley, who has a long term association with Massa that stretches back to when they both worked for Scuderia Ferrari, admitted seeing the Brazilian crash out was a huge shame, not just for the driver and team but also for the fans who flocked to the circuit to see him race one last time.

“It was a shame that Felipe had to end his race the way he did, as it would have been great for him to get a good result,” said Smedley. “You could see that he was absolutely filled with emotion, as he has been all weekend, and this final home race for him, in front of his fans and surrounded by friends and family must be something very special for him. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.”