Valtteri Bottas finished in sixth place in today’s Australian Grand Prix, with Felipe Massa retiring on the first lap after being hit from behind by the Caterham of Kobayashi. Valtteri had a strong start, moving from P15 to P10 on the first lap, and was running in P6 before a puncture forced him to pit and pushed him back to P16. He then showed strong pace to make his way through the pack to finish in the top ten. The FW36 looked competitive all weekend and the team will be looking to demonstrate the car’s full potential in the next race in Malaysia.
Rod Nelson, Chief Test & Support Engineer: Valtteri drove a fabulous race and the team worked really well together, handling some tricky situations that came our way. Valtteri managed his race well and had a strong start getting up to P6, but a mistake unfortunately forced him to pit for a tyre change and he had to overtake the same cars for a second time, showing some great race craft in the process. It was very unfortunate for Felipe to be knocked out of the race at the start and we can only wonder where he might have finished if that hadn’t happened. On balance we leave Australia on a positive note. The car has performed well and the team has worked very well together on what proved a busy race for the pit wall, so we head into the next race with good momentum.
Valtteri Bottas: The car performed very well today which is looking encouraging for the season ahead, and on the whole as a team we can be pleased that we have made a good step forward from last season. I’m a little disappointed with myself because I was pushing a bit too hard and hit the wall which caused a puncture and put me back a long way. I spent the rest of the race trying to make up for that mistake and managed to make some good overtakes, but I need to learn from this and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It felt great to be able to race hard with people around me and I want to say a big thank you to the race team and everyone back at Grove and Brixworth who have done a great job with this car. We should have finished higher today than we did with the pace we had and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in Malaysia.
Felipe Massa: I’m obviously very disappointed as I had the sort of car capable of challenging for a podium today, but the incident in the first corner ruined my race. I tried to have a calm start and not take any risks, but was hit from behind after Kobayashi braked too late and there was nothing I could do to avoid being taken out of the race. It’s a shame but there are a lot of positive things that the team can take from this weekend in terms of pace and reliability, so I’m just thinking about the next race and having a strong result there.