Williams best of the rest once again in qualifying

3 Comments

As Mercedes scored its ninth pole position in ten races through Nico Rosberg, Williams once again proved itself to be the ‘best of the rest’ by qualifying second and third at Hockenheim.

Following Lewis Hamilton’s crash in Q1, Rosberg looked set to go unchallenged en route to pole position. Valtteri Bottas did give him a brief scare late on, but the Finn was happy to settle for second place, feeling that he could have not gone any quicker.

“Yeah, today we must be really happy with the result we got, second and third, well done to everyone,” Bottas said after the session on Saturday. “I think Mercedes is still ahead, but the lap I had at the end was no mistakes and a really nice lap, so really felt I got everything out of the car.”

For Felipe Massa, third place was almost a disappointment as he struggled to get a lap together during qualifying, but he is still happy to be fighting at the front alongside Bottas.

“I think I was struggling to put the lap together,” he said. “I had some movement from the tires 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 anyway 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.”

Williams is currently enjoying a revival following a difficult period in the history of the team. Last season, Bottas and former driver Pastor Maldonado could score just five points in total, leaving the team ninth in the constructors’ and as the lowest-ranked scoring team.

This year though, everything has changed. Massa started on pole in Austria, leading an all-Williams front row, whilst Bottas has finished on the podium in the last two races. You would have to think that if Mercedes hits trouble in Germany as it did in Canada, this time it would be Williams who could pick up the pieces.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Follow@KyleMLavigne