Paddy Lowe felt it was a disappointing day at the Sochi Autodrom on Sunday for the Williams Martini Racing team, with the Grove-based squad only able to take two points away from the race for a ninth place finish for Felipe Massa when a better result was certainly possible.
Massa suffered not one but two slow punctures during the race, with the second dropping him down from sixth to ninth in the closing stages, and Lowe, the Chief Technical Officer of Williams, said it was upsetting for it to happen to the popular Brazilian.
“It was a very disappointing day because we were in great shape for some good points,” said Lowe. “Felipe drove a fantastic race, but we had two slow punctures on his car.
“The first one wasn’t too damaging because it came at a reasonable time for a one-stop strategy, but the second one took him well out of position to ninth, which is a much worse result than the sixth place he was on for.”
Lowe was also downbeat that Lance Stroll couldn’t bring home points after a first lap spin ruined a bad start and put him to far down the order to recover, although he was happy to see the Canadian finish a race for the first time.
“On Lance’s side, he had an unfortunate spin very early on, but drove a good, solid race after that and narrowly missed out on the points,” said Lowe.
“Without the spin he could have certainly been in the points, but he put in some pace when he needed to and gained a position through the pit stops, and it’s great that he’s got his first race finish of his career.”
The team will now look into the cause of the punctures to ensure they do not reoccur, and Lowe wants both Massa and Stroll to improve in the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks time.
He also praised former Williams racer Valtteri Bottas on his first victory in Formula 1 after the Finn defeated Sebastian Vettel on Sunday.
“Overall we’re disappointed, we need to understand the reasons for the punctures as there may be more to it than bad luck,” added Lowe. “We’ll look into that, and look forward to getting better results in Spain, which the car and the drivers deserve.
“Finally, congratulations to Valtteri for his first race win. We consider him a home driver, he learned a lot of his craft at Williams and we’re delighted to see him get his first victory in Formula One.”