Australian Grand Prix 2016 – Race
• Felipe Massa finished fifth and Valtteri Bottas eighth in the Australian Grand Prix.
• After starting P16 due to a grid penalty for a gearbox change, Valtteri spent most of his race overtaking and fighting with Sainz, Verstappen, Hulkenberg and Grosjean for sixth. He made up eight places from his starting position.
• The race was red-flagged on lap 18 following a collision between Gutierrez and Alonso.
• After the first race of the season, Williams is third in the Constructors’ Championship.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: Australia is always a strange race. You come here and there are lots of unknowns with pace, in both qualifying and the race. You just want to make sure you get through it with a decent haul of points, and we have done that. We can hold our heads reasonably high after that race. We made the right call in the pit lane under the red flag, fitting the medium tyres and going to the end. That’s got us third in the championship now. Today has probably been the calmest day of the weekend, with all the various regulation and rule changes. Today we just got our heads down and did the job. Now we look forward to developing the car as we have some good upgrades coming. We need to look at every little bit of performance we can get out of the car and get ourselves into a slightly better position. The guys did a brilliant job in the pits today. We’ve redesigned the wheel nuts and axles, and the crew themselves did an amazing job. We got both stops close to two seconds, so I’m very happy with that.
Felipe Massa: It was a good race. To finish fifth, scoring some good points, is definitely a good start to the season. The red flag in the middle helped us to keep our strategy to one-stop and, thanks to that, we managed to overtake both Toro Rossos who had decided to go for different tyres. That’s why I am happy with the result – and for Valtteri as well, he started P16 and finished P8, so it was a great drive for him.
Valtteri Bottas: It has obviously been a very difficult week. The struggles we had with qualifying and then the grid penalty compromised the race. It wasn’t the nice clean race we were hoping for, but we still have points from both of our cars. We are definitely aiming for better positions, and myself personally, so I am looking forward to Bahrain because I am sure we can do better than this weekend.