Mercedes remains out of reach of Williams according to Valtteri Bottas, after he and his team-mate qualified second and third on the grid for Sunday’s German Grand Prix behind Nico Rosberg.
While the Finn was satisfied with his performance on Saturday, having run Rosberg close for pole, missing out by just two tenths of a second, he admitted that Williams are not yet ready to beat Mercedes in a straight fight during qualifying.
“We must again be really happy with the result we got today as a team,” said Bottas. “I think Mercedes is still ahead. The lap I had at the end had no mistakes and was a really good lap, so I got the most out of the car today.
“It feels really good to be part of this team as we are really going in the right way. We are still focusing to get better and better, and we’ll try to do a perfect job and get maximum points tomorrow.”
On the other side of the Williams garage, his team-mate Felipe Massa confessed that he had struggled to put together a perfect lap during the final part of qualifying, but insisted he was still pleased to be third, some three tenths off Bottas in the sister car.
“I was struggling to put the lap together – I had some movement from the tyres and was not able to have a perfect car and put the perfect sectors together,” he explained.
“The car was not 100 per cent perfect in terms of set-up and Valtteri did a very good lap. But I’m still quite happy with the result and in the race the conditions and feeling are different.”
With the current high temperatures expected to remain for Sunday’s race, the Brazilian expects plenty of pitstops as drivers attempt to manage the tyre wear of Pirelli’s softest rubber compounds.
“I think it will be a big challenge for everybody,” said Massa. “We are running super soft and soft, so it won’t be easy to keep the tyres in a good shape and the consistency won’t be there every lap. Maybe we will see more stops than other races, but definitely having a cooler race will help a bit especially for our cars.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic