Race Malaysian GP report: Williams Mercedes
Felipe Massa finished seventh and Valtteri Bottas eighth in a hot and physically demanding Malaysian Grand Prix to collect 10 points for the team. Both drivers had a strong start, with Felipe moving up to P10 from P13 and Valtteri moving up to P12 from P18 on the first lap. The FW36 then showed strong and consistent race pace to allow both drivers to run in the top ten, and fight hard in the final few laps as they chased down the McLaren of Button when on fresher tyres. The pit crew did a fantastic job today, recording the best ever pit stop performance in a race for Williams.
Rod Nelson, Chief Test & Support Engineer
A double points finish is what we were aiming for this weekend and I’m delighted for the team and everyone back at the factory who have worked so hard on the FW36. The high temperatures make this a very tough race and we were focusing on controlling our tyre degradation and all of the component temperatures in the car. We did this well and both of the drivers did a very strong job of managing the car and driving consistently, making some good overtakes when needed to move us up the field. This weekend has been something of a mixed bag for the team, but we are confident that Bahrain next weekend will allow us to demonstrate the cars potential.
Getting both cars in the points today is a positive result for the team. I had a very good start and made up some good places on the first lap, but my progress was halted a bit by the McLaren of Magnussen in the first stint which had good traction out of the last corner which made it difficult for me to overtake. I also had the same issue later on in the race with Jenson as I was able to get up close to the back of him in the closing stages when on better tyres, but just couldn’t get passed. On the whole I don’t think this track particularly suited our car, so we have done well to finish where we have, and I’m confident that we will be more competitive in Bahrain.
I think we need to be happy about today as moving from P18 to P8 is a good result and we have more points in the bag. The car was not as competitive this weekend as it was in Melbourne, but the team has done a very good in producing a car that is looking like it can consistently fight in the top ten. I had a really good start, making up six places on the first lap, and from then on the pace was pretty good and I was able to make up more places without too much trouble by using our very strong straight line speed on the long straights. Qualifying has shown that there are parts of the car we need to address, but the start to the season has been encouraging for us so far.