Austrian GP: Williams F1 team insists victory was never viable

The Williams Formula 1 team does not believe it was a genuine contender for victory in the Austrian Grand Prix, despite qualifying both cars on the front row of the grid

Austrian GP: Williams F1 team insists victory was never viable

Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas started ahead of championship leader Nico Rosberg's Mercedes, but both drivers slipped back in Sunday's race as Rosberg led Lewis Hamilton home for Mercedes' sixth one-two finish of the season, despite cooling issues with both cars.

Williams's head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley told reporters after the race that Williams was managing its own car issues and had to adopt a conservative approach to ensure it finished third and fourth.

"I think we were beaten by a faster car and a better organised team, so hats off to them because they did a better job than us today," Smedley said.

"We were not without problems ourselves and had to manage systems on the car - brakes, tyres, and it was all about that, and about consolidating and making sure we got third and fourth, and we didn't do anything silly trying to race Mercedes and finish fifth or sixth, or worse."

Although Williams lost out to Mercedes at successive rounds of pitstops, after pitting later than its rival, Smedley does not believe Williams could have adopted a more aggressive strategy.

"I'm not sure we could have done it much differently to be honest," Smedley added.

"Mercedes had problems but I don't think they were running their full pace.

"If you react to their first pitstop there's every chance we wouldn't have got our cars to the end of the race, the tyre wear was that close, so I'm reasonably happy with what we did.

"We wouldn't be competitive people if we didn't feel a slight twinge of disappointment, but you've got to look at the positives."

MASSA 'UNLUCKY' AT STOPS

Massa fell to fourth by the flag despite leading to the first round of stops, but reckoned he was just unlucky with how his strategy played out.

"I don't think it was the late pitstop so much because Valtteri stopped after me and he passed me in the pitstops," Massa said.

"I think I was unlucky, because when I came back on the track I was behind one Mercedes and the other was very close behind with hot tyres and passed me easily.

"Then I lost a lot of time on the same lap with a car going slowly to the pits, and that was enough to lose the position [to Bottas].

"He was a bit more lucky than me. Normally when you stop before it's better, but I was not lucky and I did not have the 2.1s pitstop.

"But I'm still happy with the result and with what I did. Unfortunately it was not enough to be on the podium but it's a great result for the team."

** In his Monday morning AUTOSPORT Plus race analysis EDD STRAW will examine whether Williams should have won in Austria

shares
comments
Post-race press conference - Austrian GP
Previous article

Post-race press conference - Austrian GP

Next article

Austrian GP: Mercedes F1 team caught out by cooling issues

Austrian GP: Mercedes F1 team caught out by cooling issues
How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history Plus

How BRM's one-off F1 double defied its rollercoaster history

It’s 60 years since BRM achieved its goal and Graham Hill led the team to a world title double. But that was just part of the remarkable story of a unique team that at times overstretched its resources and had its fair share of disappointments

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever Plus

The bold F1 DRS experiment that could end the debate forever

OPINION: The effectiveness of DRS in Formula 1 remains a topic of debate as the winter break gives a chance for reflection on the racing we saw in 2022. For all of its detractors, perhaps an experiment where DRS is cast aside and the impact this has on racing is in order to truly understand its merits in modern F1

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Plus

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

Formula 1
Dec 7, 2022
How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Plus

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022