Valtteri Bottas was disheartened after the Spanish Grand Prix around Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya, where the Finnish debutant struggled greatly with tyre wear to eventually finish 16th and only just ahead of the Caterham of Charles Pic. Williams elected not to switch Bottas to a four-stop strategy, greatly compromising the latter half of his race.
Since returning to their winning ways last season with Pastor Maldonado at the Spanish Grand Prix, Williams has started the new season with several highly uncompetitive results. Despite introducing various upgrades to their car ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, the Grove-based outfit continued to struggle with Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas qualifying a dismal 18th and 17th. The duo moved up one place apiece once Esteban Gutierrez was issued with a grid penalty, but that did nothing to sweeten the bitter taste of an uncompetitive qualifying performance.
Despite Pastor Maldonado’s relative rise through the order during the race, which saw the Venezuelan driver eventually finish 14th, the overall result for the Grove-based outfit yielded no points. After suffering from increased tyre wear, Pastor Maldonado was switched to a four-stop strategy. Although Valtteri Bottas also suffered from high tyre wear, the Finn was not switched and was therefore compromised towards the back of the pack. Charles Pic nearly overtook Valtteri Bottas for 16th, however blue flags came to the Finn’s rescue and prevented Pic from mounting a serious challenge for position.
“I couldn’t feel the grip in the car and we were sliding a lot from the start which meant we were hard on the tyres.” Explained a disheartened Valtteri Bottas, “We made a three-stop strategy work but in the end, Pastor switched to a four-stop race and that seemed to be better. We’re not where we want to be, so there is still a lot of work to do.”
Williams will unquestionably be looking to make improvements prior to the Monaco Grand Prix next time out, where passing is notoriously difficult throughout the race. Should the team’s uncompetitiveness and high amounts of tyre wear continue next weekend, the Grove-based outfit could find themselves once again stuck towards the rear of the pack in what has so far been a frustrating start to the year.
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