Williams regained 4th in the Constructors standings after a double finish in Monza that saw Valtteri Bottas finish 6th and Felipe Massa secure 9th. The team will need to beat Force India at circuits that will suit the FW38 less if they are to extend their lead of 3-points.
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) September 6, 2016
After the race, Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley said,
“I think that was pretty much the most we could achieve today. We stopped a little bit early with Valtteri but the strategy played out well. Ricciardo got us at the end but he had been quite a lot quicker throughout the race and was right up behind Valtteri, but we did what we could to race him. It would have been nice to have held on to fifth but we just didn’t have the pace over the Red Bull.
With Felipe, we went into the race planning a one-stop, but stopped earlier to cover Hulkenberg and then tried to keep Felipe out as long as possible to try and chase Perez at the end. The qualifying tyre we put on for the final stint was better than we expected and with one more lap we may have been able to gain another position with Felipe. Overall, in terms of strategy, pit-stops, and how we operated as a team we managed the race well and it is satisfying to reclaim fourth in the championship.”
– Rob Smedley
Bottas personally felt that the team could have extracted more out of the weekend given the recent relationship between Williams and Monza – They’ve finished 3-4 in the previous two Italian Grand Prix. The Finnish driver remarked,
“I was personally expecting a bit more from today. I set myself a target of finishing on the podium, but we didn’t quite have the pace which meant that I had to push the tyre a little bit more in every stint just to secure my position on track. This meant that towards the end of the stint I was struggling a bit.
The pure pace wasn’t there today, but overall we leave Monza with a positive result for the team, taking back fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.This gives us a bit of confidence and shows that we can definitely keep hold of fourth if we keep doing the right things.”
– Valtteri Bottas
— WILLIAMS RACING (@WilliamsRacing) September 4, 2016
Bottas encapsulates the feeling at Williams really. It’s positive that they’re back in 4th, but it’s a lengthy 7 races remaining and Force India won’t be as uncharacteristically weak as they were in Monza. The midfield battle has been one of the most entertaining stories of the season. Two great, but very different teams going at it and pushing eachother forwards. What Williams have lacked this season is indeed podiums, that’s the edge that Force India have show and the difference seems to be in the tyre management.
The Williams struggled with heavy degradation in Monza and struggle more than Force India to bring the harder compounds into their optimal temperature window. Without the benefit of ease on the tyres, Williams aren’t gifted as broader spectrum of race strategy as the Force India team.
Singapore’s Marina Bay is next up, a street circuit that has similar elements to Monte Carlo. Williams will be hoping that the result of that race isn’t preemptive of what will happen next time out though, they scored a point with Massa whilst Sergio Perez finished 3rd and Hulkenberg 6th.