In Austria on Sunday Williams enjoyed their best weekend since Barcelona in 2012 when they had last won a last grand prix, as Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished third and fourth respectively. Despite starting from the front row the team are convinced they did not have the firepower to match the dominant Mercedes duo.
From the outside it appeared that the Silver Arrows pit wall made some key strategy calls during the race, while Williams blinked and thus lost the high ground during the race, which ultimately cost them victory.
However the team’s Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley explained to media after the race that this was not the case, “There’s a chance, if we’d done what Nico did [pit early] we wouldn’t have got to the end – tyre wear was that close. I’m reasonably happy with what we did.”
The former Ferrari man continued, “From all the information we had at that point and everything we knew at that time and now know, I don’t think we could have got to the end of the race by doing it. Even [with the strategy we chose], we were managing tyres and tyre wear, trying to keep wheel spin and lateral acceleration down in certain parts of the corner with driving styles, with electronic settings.”
“So it would have been fairly gung-ho and brave to have gone for it on that lap, and you look like a bit of an idiot if you finish your tyres with five or six laps to go and cars come streaming past you. We wouldn’t be racers if you didn’t feel a slight twinge of disappointment but you have to look at the positives.”
“We were beaten by a faster car and a better organised team. They did a better job than us, there’s no doubt about that. We knew we had to manage systems on the car, brakes, tyres – and it was all about that,” ventured Smedley. (GP247)