Williams’ head of performance engineering Rob Smedley believes the team deserve their first ever front row lockout since 2003 having done a marvelous job in overtaking their fortunes after a dismal 2013 season.
Last year, Williams scored a meagre five points and finished down in ninth place in the constructors standings. This year, the Grove based outfit has come up with a much more competitive car with which they’ve already racked up 58 points. However, a closer analysis of their 2014 campaign shows that various factors have prevented them exploiting the full potential of their car.
“I am really pleased. The guys have done a very good job, “ said a jubilant Smedley. “Tomorrow will be hotter but we know from our long runs where the issues will be that we will face, it will be a defensive race tomorrow as we try to keep everyone else behind us but for the team this is a much deserved result for all the hard work that has been put in both at the factory and race track.”
Felipe Massa, who scored his first pole position since Brazil 2008, described today’s result as an emotional one.
“It’s an incredible moment for me, but the whole team is feeling this too,” Massa told reporters after qualifying. “The team has a great history and we continue to build on that. It’s a special day. I had some traffic earlier in the session but when it counted I did the best I could. There is a lot to do tomorrow and we have a very strong Mercedes behind us. Today is a day I won’t forget though and it’s the first time my son has seen me get pole so emotions are high.”
Valtteri Bottas conceded that Massa simply did a better job today and admitted the mistake he made on his final flying lap.
“I would have liked to have been on pole, but Felipe had the better lap when it mattered. I pushed a bit too hard on my final lap at Turn Six, but I was already down on my quickest.”
The Finn, who starts in a career high second place, acknowledges the scale of challenge he’s likely to face on race day and is pinning his hopes on a good strategy.
“Tomorrow isn’t going to be easy as the Mercedes are still the quickest car. Tomorrow the strategy will be important and so we have to be clever with what we do. We are in a better position than the Ferraris and the Red Bull so it should be really good fun,” the 24 year concluded.