Belgian GP: Williams admits opportunity missed for Bottas and Massa

The Williams Formula 1 team has blamed the wet conditions, compromised set-up and braking issues for failing to qualify higher for the Belgian Grand Prix

Belgian GP: Williams admits opportunity missed for Bottas and Massa

The Grove outfit headed into the upcoming two F1 races at Spa and Monza expecting to enjoy its best chance yet of challenging the dominant factory Mercedes cars.

Valtteri Bottas was fastest in dry conditions in the closing stages of final free practice on Saturday morning, but could only qualify sixth in the wet in the afternoon.

Meanwhile team-mate Felipe Massa complained that brake issues hindered his performance, as he wound up a second adrift of Bottas in ninth.

Bottas stopped short of saying Williams could have challenged Mercedes for the front row of the grid, but reckoned his team could have locked out row two in the dry.

"The conditions didn't help. Overall we would have been more competitive in the dry," Bottas said. "Set-up wise everything for us is aimed for the dry.

"We didn't really get a clean out-lap in Q3 and lost a bit of tyre temperature. We still have work to do on the downforce on the car and to get the wet tyres to work a bit better.

"We don't know how much pace Mercedes had left - they were really quick in the wet - but for sure we could have had a go to get the car in top three if it was dry.

"It was possible to be nearer if we'd got everything right, but it was not possible to challenge Mercedes in these conditions."

MASSA: BRAKE GLAZING AND MISTAKE

Massa reckoned he would have been right up with his team-mate but for one of his front brakes 'glazing' early in the session.

"I had two problems," Massa explained.

"First of all, my front-right brake was glazed during the whole qualifying so I was struggling massively to brake in the heavy braking zones.

"Then in Q3 I had a lot of traffic so I could not warm up the tyres in the good way, so I started the lap not in good shape and in the last sector I went off the track in corner 17 [Blanchimont] and lost minimum half a second."

Williams vehicle performance chief Rob Smedley admitted Williams should have qualified third and fourth if "everything had gone perfectly to plan".

"Based on yesterday, even if we weren't stunning in the second sector, I think we were right there in that long train from third to seventh," Smedley said.

"We could have been third and fourth, but we're sixth and ninth.

"But you have to look at it from a pragmatic point of view and that was a wet, tricky qualifying session, and we could equally have had both cars 16th and 17th, or 17th and 18th, or one car in the wall!

"We don't have that, so there's positives to take, but you always want more."

shares
comments
Mercedes to alter F1 team orders process after Rosberg/Hamilton row
Previous article

Mercedes to alter F1 team orders process after Rosberg/Hamilton row

Next article

Mercedes makes low downforce changes

Mercedes makes low downforce changes
Load comments
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great Plus

How Surtees became an unappreciated Ferrari great

John Surtees and Enzo Ferrari parted ways amicably but could have achieved more together. On the weekend that Formula 1 makes its bow in Qatar, a country best-known for staging bike racing, NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the career of the formidable ‘Big John’ - the first man to achieve success at the highest level on two and four wheels

Formula 1
Nov 21, 2021