New Williams nose better but complicates its Bahrain GP qualifying

Williams's new short Formula 1 nose has delivered a performance gain but its addition midway through the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend made for a challenging Saturday, says Felipe Massa

New Williams nose better but complicates its Bahrain GP qualifying

Williams flew in the new nose and front wing overnight and with only one available, Massa had priority because he is ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the championship.

The team fitted it to the car in time for third practice but struggled with the set-up initially before getting on top of the struggles in time for qualifying.

"We mounted the new front wing and nose this afternoon and the car was very difficult to drive, it was a different balance," said Massa, who qualified seventh one place ahead of Bottas.

"We had a long meeting after the session, we used the new one and the old one, and the numbers said it gave what it is supposed to give.

"Then we changed completely the balance of the car, the set-up, so many things and it was more or less in the correct way in qualifying.

"We decided to use it and managed to improve our time which was important.

"Testing new things like that which are not so similar to the other one, it can cause some issues.

"We took a bit of risk but I hope maybe the risk can give a benefit in the race."

When asked if Williams made the right decision to rush to get the nose and front wing on the car in Bahrain rather than wait to China, technical director Pat Symonds said: "Yes. It is a performance advantage so the earlier you can get it, the better."

Bottas believes the new nose and wing gained the team around a tenth of a second in performance.

"It is a step forward according to the data," said Bottas.

"It's more than a tenth, so I'm looking forward to having it in China."

EXTRA Q2 RUN EXPLAINED

Bottas said the reason both he and Massa went out in Q2 despite already being assured of a place in the final segment was because they had an extra set of tyres that they knew they would not use in Q3.

"We knew there was no way we could do two runs in Q3 because you need to be in the top four after the first run and we know in normal cases that wouldn't happen," he said.

"We thought go out in Q2, learn something about track evolution or find something from my side."

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