British Grand Prix: Bottas 'would have been able to pull a gap'

Valtteri Bottas believes he could have pulled away in the lead of the British Grand Prix had he been allowed to attack Williams Formula 1 team-mate Felipe Massa earlier on

British Grand Prix: Bottas 'would have been able to pull a gap'

Both Williams made stunning getaways with Massa taking the lead from third on the grid and Bottas briefly rising to second before being repassed by Lewis Hamilton, only to take the Mercedes again at the safety car restart.

Bottas looked to be the quicker of the two Williams drivers as he chased Massa but was initially told to hold station before being given the all-clear to race.

When asked by AUTOSPORT if he felt he could have eased clear had he got past Massa, Bottas said: "I feel I would have been able to have pulled a gap.

"I'm guessing [I could have gone] half a second per lap because on the in-lap I was nearly one second quicker.

"No-one should let anyone by. That's not racing, but it would have been nice to have been able to race when I had the best opportunities, but I wasn't allowed to overtake.

"Then we were allowed to race after, but I never had that kind of opportunity again.

"Because we were in very good positions the team wanted to settle things down, not for us to lose time battling, so that was the thinking behind it.

"Of course for me it was a disappointing situation, but that's very easy to say afterwards.

"Possibly there were things we could have done better in the race."

Massa said he understood Williams' decision to initially hold station before making the call to race and said it had no effect on the outcome of the race.

"I understand the team sometimes gets a little bit afraid," he said. "We know the result is the most important thing.

"It was difficult for Valtteri to pass me, it was difficult for Mercedes to pass him as well.

"Nothing changed. Everything we did today didn't cost any position."

Explaining the reasoning behind Williams' strategy, performance chief Rob Smedley said: "The absolute key point was that we didn't want to get held up fighting each other too hard.

"That was the message that we gave because if we were fighting each other too hard then we weren't pulling away from the Mercedes.

"Once it became clear that everything had calmed down a little bit then they were free to race as long as it was a clean pass and they weren't going to be backing each other up into the Mercedes, that was fine.

"We gave that message maybe two laps later and they carried on like that until the stop."

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British Grand Prix: Post-race press conference

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