Italian GP: Williams ready 'to pick up the pieces' from Mercedes

The Williams Formula 1 team is "ready to pick up the pieces" if Mercedes slips up again in the Italian Grand Prix, according to performance chief Rob Smedley

Italian GP: Williams ready 'to pick up the pieces' from Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa qualified third and fourth for Sunday's Monza race, directly behind the dominant Mercedes of poleman Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton and Rosberg clashed controversially on the second lap of the previous race in Belgium, allowing Daniel Ricciardo to win for Red Bull.

Smedley admitted Williams would have been in a position to win that race had it not struggled in wet qualifying at Spa, but reckons the fact it has maximised its potential at Monza means it will be in good shape if the Mercedes drivers slip up again.

"We certainly had the potential to be third and fourth here - that was always on the cards if we got everything perfect," Smedley said.

"You have to pay homage to the fact Lewis is six tenths in front of Valtteri.

"Valtteri's lap was very clean - I think that's as fast as the car would go.

"His [Hamilton's] middle sector was quite stunning, so hats off to the lad he's done a great job.

PRACTICE ANALYSIS: F1 2014's closest weekend yet

"On race pace he didn't run on Friday; Nico looked like he suffered a bit more with degradation, so can we race with them? It's a possibility, but if they get everything perfect it will be very, very difficult for us.

"But we'll be there to pick up the pieces if they don't."

MERCEDES WATCHING WILLIAMS

Rosberg admitted Mercedes would have to watch out for Bottas in particular in the race, rather than simply concentrating on an intra-team duel at the front.

"I was not happy with the car yesterday, it really didn't feel good," Rosberg said.

"Today in qualifying it did, so I'm optimistic for the race, but Williams had a very strong long-run yesterday so we need to keep an open mind about that and see how we are doing tomorrow, but I think we will be OK.

"He [Bottas] is definitely a strong competitor of ours and we need to keep an eye on him.

"He had a very good run on Friday, also with the high fuel, so they [Williams] could be tough to beat tomorrow for sure."

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