Williams’ Smedley thinks turnaround is in the cards for Felipe Massa

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Felipe Massa’s first season at Williams has not gone all that well, but his long-time engineer, Rob Smedley, believes that the recent test in Barcelona following the Spanish Grand Prix will help the Brazilian veteran catch up with teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas sits seventh in the Driver’s Championship as one of a handful of drivers that have scored points in all five Grand Prix so far.

But Massa is a middling 12th on the strength of two seventh-place finishes, and will try to avoid a third straight finish outside of the points in this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.

However, Smedley, now Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, thinks that improvements borne from the Barcelona test are set to work in their favor.

“My approach is to always go through and look at every single detail even if that wastes a little bit of time going down certain avenues,” Smedley said to British F1 broadcaster Sky Sports.

“So we have come up with some very, very good analysis in a very short space of time. Luckily, there was the test after the race in Barcelona so we were able to test some things could there, which worked.

“That just gives us all a great deal of confidence in our analysis methods and then going to test those methods in the track, it gives Felipe confidence that ‘I had a problem in the last two races, the guys have got stuck in and they’ve come out with a bunch of things, we’ve tested that all in Spain and it’s all worked’.”

Massa’s Monaco weekend last year for Ferrari was a disaster, as he crashed in Saturday practice at the Sainte-Devote corner and then wrecked there again during the race. Surely, he’s hoping for much better in his first run at Monte Carlo for Williams.

F1 Paddock Pass: United States Grand Prix post-race (VIDEO)

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As Lewis Hamilton took another step towards his fourth Formula 1 World Championship Sunday at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, plenty of other topics of discussion emerged in the wake of Round 17 of the season from Austin.

Hamilton’s win came as his Mercedes AMG Petronas team claimed its fourth consecutive Constructor’s Championship, Scuderia Ferrari came up short once again despite a valiant effort in second and third, and Max Verstappen’s penalty after the race was the major talking point.

Elsewhere Valtteri Bottas struggled again, the Sahara Force India twins continued to pick up points, Carlos Sainz Jr. made a major positive impact in his first start with Renault, Brendon Hartley impressed on debut at Toro Rosso and Romain Grosjean and Haas F1 Team endured a tough weekend on Haas’ home soil.

Check out all the recap from the latest USGP in the latest post-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass with NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton, below.