Williams Martini Racing‘s Chief Technical Officer Paddy Lowe praised home-town hero Felipe Massa for a “perfect race”.
In what is set to be his final Brazilian Grand Prix, Massa fought hard to take an emotional seventh place, fending off late pressure from former team-mate Fernando Alonso and the Sahara Force India F1 Team’s Sergio Pérez.
Despite rookie Lance Stroll struggling with mechanical and tyre issues throughout the weekend, Massa’s six points ensured Williams of fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship, keeping up their record of finishing in the top five in each of the last four seasons.
“First of all, it was a fantastic race with amazing weather and a magnificent crowd.” said Lowe, who joined Williams from the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team last winter.
“Felipe had a good start and got to sixth before the safety car was deployed. He made another position on the restart from Alonso and was able to execute a perfectly timed pitstop to prevent the undercut from Alonso.”
“Alonso spent the whole race trying to come back but never made it stick, even whilst under threat from Perez who was behind.”
“Felipe drove a perfect race, managing all of his systems, and particularly the tyres, to maintain that defence and finish very strongly as the ‘best of the rest’ in the current competition.”
Lowe spoke about the troubles caused by Stroll’s Saturday morning gearbox problems, explaining that the Canadian had to revert to an old power unit for Qualifying, the race and even the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time.
“On Lance’s side, he had a problem with his gearbox yesterday which meant we damaged his fourth power unit of the season and he had to revert to his third power unit for qualifying and the remaining races this season.”
“That power unit is down on performance in comparison so it was never going to be easy for Lance to get points.”
“Starting 16th, he was having a good drive before getting stuck behind Grosjean for too long and he flat spotted a tyre trying to get out of that situation for which he paid the price later on as eventually the flat spot caused the tyre to delaminate.”
“Lance took a final set of super-softs for the last three laps.”
Disappointment aside, Lowe said that the team were “extremely happy” with the efforts made to allow Massa to run as high as fifth in the race.
“Today was Felipe’s day and the team are extremely happy that we were able to provide him with the material and support to deliver such a perfect result at his final race in Brazil.”
“So, congratulations to him for the race today.”