FORMULA 1 2014
lap – he describes as his biggest
disappointment of the season.
“It had been a really tough race for us,
but I was in a reasonable position, picking
up some points in the most difficult race
of the rest of the season. I thought I could
just handle it until the end, but it was one
or two laps too much. When one car comes
past, everyone comes past, because you
go a bit off line on worn tires, you spin the
really managed to put the right people in
the right positions, and get some new
people, too. It’s a large team, 500 people
in total, but Pat has a clear view of the big
picture, and so he knows exactly how
they need to operate, and who is best in
which kind of role. Getting him in last year
was really crucial for us because,
honestly, we were a bit lost.”
The team might have made huge leaps
from last year to this, but so has Bottas.
It’s natural that a driver makes a step in
his second season, but in his case the
learning process has been accelerated by
the fact that he’s suddenly found himself
fighting for podium positions with the
biggest names in the sport. The stakes
are that much higher than at the back of
the field, but so are the rewards.
“It is a totally different thing,” he says.
“You just need to choose your moves
more carefully – passing moves,
defending, everything – because the
competition is just on a better level at
the front. Also, at the front, everyone is
much closer and every single mistake is
going to cost more.
“But I’ve enjoyed it much more. Fighting
at the front is where I feel I belong.”
The mercurial presence of Valtteri Bottas
at Williams was perfectly balanced by
the arrival of veteran Felipe Massa.
Having been ousted from Ferrari
after the team opted to go with Kimi
Raikkonen, Massa has been reborn at
Williams. His settling in period was
helped by the fact he was joined by his
long-time Ferrari engineer and friend
Rob Smedley, who’s charged with
improving the team’s race operations.
Massa often lost out to his team
mate in qualifying, although he did take
pole in Austria, but he’s been strong in
the races. Earlier in the year he exited
three races in first-lap accidents and
lost a good result in Montreal after a
clash with Sergio Perez, but third in
Italy and Brazil, and a superb, close
second in Abu Dhabi culminated in
seventh in the final points standings.
That’s three places behind Bottas, but
Massa insists he’s not bothered.
“It’s very nice to work with Valtteri,”
he says. “He’s very fair, very clever,
very professional and bloody quick!
But the first thing I thought was to do
the best for the team, which is to have
both cars at the front. I’m not fighting
for the championship, so I don’t care
about my position at the end.
“So everything I know, everything I
understand, I pass to Valtteri. It’s not
the time to lie or keep secrets; it’s the
time to be united, and the time to do
a great job together. So that’s what
I’m trying to do with him, but also
with all the engineers, with everybody
who is working with the team.”
Felipe Massa brings more than a decade of
F1 experience to Williams. The 33-year-old
Brazilian is an 11-time GP winner with Ferrari.
MAssA’s REsURREc TION
FeliPe’s s Tar rises aGain
spirited driving like
this (aBOVe) saw
Massa 13-6 over the
course of the season.
Valtteri (leFT), along
with a revamped tech
team, points to a new
dawn for Williams.
“since Pat [symonds]
arrived, a lot of things have
moved in the right direction
and not by accident”
wheels a little bit, and that’s it.”
But Singapore, along with Monaco –
where he suffered a power-unit failure –
was an aberration. Bottas earned points
in every other grand prix, and at this
stage in his career is gaining valuable
lessons even from the incomplete races.
“Even in those two [Monaco and
Singapore] I think I managed to learn
something – something I can do better
It took a lot of hard work for Williams
to put all the right pieces together for
what appears to be the start of a revival.
Symonds, who won titles with Michael
Schumacher and Fernando Alonso at
Benetton and Renault, respectively, was
the talisman who tied it all together.
“Since Pat arrived, a lot of things have
started to move in the right direction, and
it’s not by accident,” says Bottas. “He’s