Sunday, 22 June 2014

Bottas really, really happy with third place

(Williams Martini Racing Team)

Williams Martini Racing driver Valtteri Bottas said he was 'really really happy' after scoring his first ever Formula One podium. The Finn started today's Austrian Grand Prix alongside his team mate Felipe Massa on the front row with the pair fighting for position throughout the race. 

Unfortunately for the Grove based outfit the Mercedes AMG F1 Team made their strategy work better and as a result this saw both Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton finish ahead of Bottas. However the team can be delighted in the fact that they finished the race as 'best of the rest' behind the two Mercedes and in doing so have overtaken McLaren Mercedes and closed the gap to Sahara Force India in the Constructors championship.

Deputy team principal Claire Williams said before the race that the team were not going out to win the Grand Prix but were just aiming to finish the race with as  many point's as possible and this is exactly what the team managed to do. Valtteri Bottas finished the race  just eight seconds behind the two Mercedes.

Following today's result and their 27 point's for third and fourth the Williams team now move to within two point's of Sahara Force India who are currently in 4th place in the Constructors championship as the team's head to the next race at the British Grand Prix in Silverstone.

Speaking following his third place finish, Valtteri Bottas said:

'It’s difficult to explain how I feel right now. That was the best champagne I’ve ever tasted. All the hard work that the team puts in shows in moments like this. I had one pitstop that really put in me in the fight and that changed my race, so well done to the boys for that. I had put in a good lap before that and so I got in front on Felipe and from there I could manage my pace with the cars in front. Having both cars score good points is what we wanted and so third and fourth for the team is a great result. There are still two places to go up the podium, but for now we will enjoy this moment.'

 Felipe Massa, who started today's race from pole position believes that there is still work to do but was happy with the team result although a little disappointed after missing out on a podium finish:

'I am very happy for Valtteri, he did a great job. We had a good fight with the Mercedes but it was clear we were never going to win. I had to manage my tyres the whole race and also struggled with traffic. To stop first and come back out fourth is a bit disappointing but that’s racing. It was a positive weekend for the whole team and an emotional one as well. The main thing is that we got 27 points which means we move up in the Constructors’ Championship. We have progressed a lot but there still work to do to close the gap to Mercedes.'

Williams Martini Racing's Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley believes that the team got the best of the car today and said:

'I believe we got everything out of today that we could have done. It was a difficult race in terms of managing brakes, systems on the car and tyres, and that dictated what we could do with strategy. The two car crews did a great job to manage tyres and get us to the end of the race and both drivers drove a sensible race. Considering where the team was 12 months ago, to where we are today, everyone should be very proud of this result and enjoy this moment. Securing 27 points is a great result today.'

The team at Williams have done an incredible job so far this season particularly when you consider where they were last season and as Claire Williams said the up turn in performance is not just down to the new Mercedes power unit but mainly down to extremely hard work that the team back at the factory in Grove have done that has enabled the team to secure their first podium finish since the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix.

The team now head to their home race, the British Grand Prix in Silverstone in two week's time hoping for a similar result. It is also going to be an extremely special weekend for their test and development driver Susie Wolff as she will drive the FW36 in Friday Practice.

© Ben Johnston 2014

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