Valtteri Bottas was elated to get the maximum out of his Williams FW36 having qualified for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix in fourth place.
Williams had struggled in wet conditions during the first two qualifying sessions of the season, but with a bone-dry weather at Sakhir, Bottas was able to show the true performance of his car.
Further, with Ricciardo’s 10 place penalty for an unsafe release during last week’s Malaysian Grand Prix, the Finn gets to starts the race from third place - his best grid slot since Canada 2013.
“It was a good qualifying session; I think we got the maximum potential out of the car today,” the 24 year old said. “After the Red Bull penalty we are third and after the last two races it’s good to see the full potential of the car on a Saturday.”
“We haven’t done too many laps this weekend so there are things we can still improve for the race, but if we get the strategy right and take the opportunities that come our way we should be in for a good result.”
Felipe Massa matched his younger teammate during the second leg of qualifying, but made crucial mistakes when it mattered the most, ending the session in eighth place.
“That was not a very easy qualifying,” the Brazilian rued” I made a few mistakes on my lap in Q3 as I had a bit of oversteer, so lost some time and I really should have been quicker.
“We will start P7 tomorrow after Ricciardo’s penalty and it’s a long race so a lot could happen. We look competitive which is good to see, and we are in the fight for tomorrow.”
Rob Smedley, who now serves as Williams' head of Vehicle Performance was pleased with his outfit's best qualifying result of the season.
“The team did an excellent job throughout the whole of qualifying, so we are very happy. We have good race pace which we showed in testing and with Ricciardo’s penalty we’ll be P3 and P7 on the grid, which is a good step forward towards where we want to be,’’ Smedley said.
“We are also starting on the clean side of the grid, which is an added advantage. The FW36 has good overtaking capabilities so we are feeling positive for tomorrow,” he added.