Saturday, 20 September 2014

Better then expected for Williams Martini Racing in qualifying for the Singapore Grand Prix

(Williams Martini Racing Team)

The Williams Martini Racing Team head into tomorrow's Singapore Grand Prix night race in third place in the Constructors championship, 15 points ahead of the Ferrari team. The Grove based outfit felt that the characteristics of the Marina Bay circuit would not suit their FW36 package and initially in the Free Practice session;s on Friday and today that did appear to be the case.

In first practice on Friday, Felipe Massa finished the session in 12th place while Valtteri Bottas finished the session in 15th place. 

In the second session on Friday, Massa finished the session in 17th place while Bottas finished in 18th place with Massa being extremely vocal following the session. In the final free practice session this morning, Felipe Massa was 7th fastest while Valtteri Bottas was 8th fastest for the Grove based outfit.

In this afternoon's qualifying session the team did a great job as they finished the session in 6th place for Massa and 8th place for Bottas.

Speaking following the session Massa commented by saying:

'This has been a promising qualifying for us because we have made big improvements compared to yesterday and we are in the mix with the teams around us in the championship. 

Top four may have been possible, especially considering how tight it is, but sixth is a solid result. What is really encouraging is that we identified the problem we had yesterday and the changes we made improved the car as we expected so a really good job by the team.  

Tomorrow will be tough. This is the longest race of the season, the conditions are challenging, and there can be safety cars so our first thought is to get both cars home in the points.'

Valtteri Bottas will be hoping that from 8th place he can bring home another big haul of points having finished the Italian Grand Prix in fourth place. Speaking after the session, the Finn said:

'We made strong improvements from yesterday’s practice sessions to FP3, and we did this again going into qualifying. 

The mechanical set-up of the car has improved as the weekend has progressed and we have done a good job in getting the tyres into the right temperature window which we struggled with yesterday. My out-lap on my final run in Q3 was a little compromised, and I made a mistake in Turn One, so given how tight it was I could have gained more places but we need to be satisfied with where we are. 

We know we have the pace to fight with the cars around us so tomorrow should be an exciting race.'

The team were pleasantly surprised by their performance in qualifying today with their head of performance engineering Rob Smedley commented:

' On balance we should be pleased with that performance. We are just over three tenths off of the pole sitter and amongst our closest Championship competitors, despite the fact that this is a track that doesn’t particularly suit our car. 

This is what we were aiming for before we got here so we have successfully completed the first part of the job. We showed good long run pace on Friday so we are in a strong position to come away from this race with a decent number of points. '

© Ben Johnston 2014

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