Felipe Massa receives backing from Claire Williams after latest first-lap crash
In-form team also eyeing Red Bull scalp in standings
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 22/07/14 9:58am
Claire Williams has praised the “great job” Felipe Massa is doing for the rejuvenated team despite the Brazilian veteran being increasingly overshadowed by team-mate Valtteri Bottas.
Massa was involved in his third spectacular first-lap accident of the year in Sunday’s German GP when he collided with the McLaren of Kevin Magnussen, the impact sending the Williams into a spectacular somersault off the track.
Bottas, meanwhile, maintained his stunning recent form with a second-straight runner-up finish, this time behind Nico Rosberg, and third consecutive podium as the Finn held off Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps. As a result, Bottas sits fifth in the Drivers’ Championship on 91 points whereas 11-times race winner Massa is tenth on just 30.
But Massa, who was also involved in a contentious last-lap collision with Sergio Perez last month in Canada when battling for a podium, has received the backing from Williams’ Deputy Team Principal.
“Felipe is doing a great job - he’s just suffered from some really bad luck,” Claire Williams told the official F1 website. “He is mature enough - and has enough experience in the sport - to realise that sometimes things don’t go your way. It isn’t getting him down.”
Massa switched to Williams at the start of 2014 on what the 33-year-old recently revealed to Sky F1 was a three-season deal after his Ferrari contract was not renewed.
And while on-track results may not yet be going the driver’s way, Williams says the Brazilian has more than proved his worth in his first half-season at Grove.
“Felipe is delivering what we hoped that he would deliver and bring to the team: the experience that he has in F1,” she explained. “He has done a huge amount of work with the engineering department to develop the car.
“It is a real inspiration to everybody in the team bringing in somebody of his caliber. It was a very strong message that we wanted to deliver to the team and the world that we are very serious about our goals.”
Williams’ current run of form means those goals are having to be constantly revised at the moment, with Bottas’s 18 points for second place at Hockenheim leapfrogging them over Ferrari and into third place in the constructors’ standings – the former champions’ highest placing for six years.
Reigning title winners Red Bull are the next, albeit for now distant, target, and Williams added: “The target [before the weekend] was to take P3 in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Red Bull is only sixty-seven points ahead of us - and they are in P2 - and with the current point system there is no reason why we can’t be fighting for P2 this year!”
And with the FW36 appearing to have been only behind the dominant Mercedes W05 on pace for the last three races, Williams expressed confidence that the team will keep up with the development pace at the front of the field into the second half of the season.
“There is no reason why we can’t,” she insisted. “We have always been a team that has developed our cars over the course of the season - and we have got resources in-house. So there is no reason why we shouldn’t continue doing what we are doing now and build on the consistency that we have now.”
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