HOCKENHEIM, 19th July 2014 (F1Plus / Graham Keilloh) - The Williams team was once again on form in Hockenheim qualifying today. And it was especially so in the hands of Valtteri Bottas, who was quick throughout and by far the closest to the dominant Mercedes on pace.
Sure enough in the end, with Lewis Hamilton side lined, Bottas claimed P2 for tomorrow’s starting grid as well as set a best time just two tenths slower than that of pole man Nico Rosberg.
Afterwards the Finn radiated satisfaction with his performance.
“I feel really happy to be part of this team as we are really on the right way,” he said,
“and again a strong result from us as a team and from me and Felipe. So, it’s good to be part of this. We are really focussing to get better and better.”
Not that he was getting carried away.
“The race is tomorrow, there’s no points for today. We need to focus on that, again trying to do the perfect job if we can and get the maximum points available,” said Bottas.
His team Felipe Massa however seemed a little less pleased with things, as while he will line up in third tomorrow his best effort was more than three tenths shy of Bottas’s, and afterwards he claimed that he couldn’t get his car to perform well throughout the whole lap.
“Yeah, for sure I think I was struggling to put the lap together,” said Massa, “so I had some movement from the tyres and I was not able to have a perfect car – just to put all the sectors together.
“I was able to do one sector better in one way, the other sector better in the other way. The car was not 100 per cent perfect in terms of set-up to put the perfect lap and Valtteri did really a very good lap.”
But Massa remained fairly upbeat.
“I’m still quite happy with the result and I’m quite happy with our car and for sure in the race the conditions are completely different, the feeling of the car as well is different, so let’s try to a very good job tomorrow as well," Massa said.
Both Williams drivers insisted too that they were not struggling for pace in Friday practice, despite slightly underwhelming headline times, particularly in the first session.
“I don’t think we were struggling yesterday” said Massa.
“Yesterday we were P6 in the session, so normally, even in the race, when we are starting at the front, we were top five, top six, so I don’t think we were struggling yesterday. Maybe in the first session everything was new for everybody,
"because there was a little change on the suspension for everybody but it was just something that you needed to get used to with the set-up but we were not struggling yesterday.”
“Yeah, I agree” said Bottas. “We knew that after Friday there was nothing really to worry about it. I think maybe sometimes some other teams are more focusing on qualifying laps in practice rather than just testing.”