Felipe Massa qualified in sixth place ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas in a fine display by the British team given its problems in the wet before. Rain-affected sessions in Australia and Malaysia had made life difficult for both of its drivers as the FW36 – despite being very quick in the dry – was a bit useless when the heavens opened.
In fact, it was such a great difference that our very own Trent Price called the car “Jekyll and Hyde“; he was right on the money. Australia was the clearest example of this. Both Bottas and Massa got into the top ten, but filled out the fifth row of the grid after struggling in the wet conditions. In the race, Massa was taken out at turn one after Kamui Kobayashi’s brakes failed, but Bottas overtook then re-overtook a number of drivers following a puncture to eventually finish fifth. In Bahrain, we saw once again that in the dry, the FW36 is a great car, but the safety car period ruined all hopes of a podium finish.
After lots of work over the past few weeks, the team finally appears to have solved its wet weather headache.
“Today was a difficult day for us, as the weather was tough, but we got the most of out of it and showed that we have improved in the wet,” Massa said. “It’s good to see forward steps.”
Valtteri Bottas agreed with his teammate, saying: “Today was a positive day for us as it’s clear we have made some improvements in the wet. The updates we brought here have helped in the dry but it’s good to see they have improved the car’s performance in the wet as well.”
All in all, it was a very good day for the Oxfordshire-based team. Now, it is a case of translating this into another double points finish in the race on Sunday, and should the rain hold off, perhaps a first podium for the 2014 campaign.
Image courtesy of Williams Martini Racing.