Williams secures best team qualifying result since 2006

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Williams drivers Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa will undoubtedly be coming away from the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with big smiles tonight after they qualified in fourth and fifth place respectively.

After both drivers ran well during FP3, qualifying saw them continue to show good pace, and they even sat first and second at one point in Q2 before Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg came back out and went quicker for Mercedes.

In Q3, Bottas produced a fine display to qualify in fourth place, and he was just 0.002 seconds shy of Sebastian Vettel in third place. It continues his fine record of good qualifying performances in Canada, having finished third in last year’s wet session on Saturday. He could not continue this form in the race, though, and faded before finishing outside of the points.

Massa, on the other hand, is no stranger to qualifying up the order during his days with Ferrari. However, this result will still come as a surprise to him after a few difficult years, and will be made all the sweeter by the fact that he is ahead of both ex-teammate Fernando Alonso and his replacement, Kimi Raikkonen.

The result marks Williams’ first two-car finish in the top five of qualifying since the 2006 Malaysian Grand Prix, where Nico Rosberg started from third and Mark Webber was fifth for the team. Neither driver managed to finish the race, though. Pastor Maldonado did start the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix from pole position, but his teammate, Bruno Senna, was knocked out in Q1.

From here, both Bottas and Massa will be keen on securing some big points, and perhaps even a podium finish if things work in their favor. Either way, Williams is well and truly back in business at the sharp end of Formula 1.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”