AUSTIN – Like in Austria, Williams had a day in Austin where it didn’t necessarily maximize its potential results, but still managed to have a net positive overall.
The Austrian race saw Williams’ Felipe Massa start on pole and Valtteri Bottas end third, with Massa fourth.
Today a second row lockout could have produced the team’s first podium in the United States in 24 years, but alas, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo beat Massa and Bottas to third place at race’s end.
“We were not aggressive enough,” Bottas told NBCSN’s Will Buxton post-race, ending fifth after starting third. “I think Red Bull did a better job today on the strategy.”
Williams head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley added, “We are slightly disappointed to have lost places to where we started, but at the end of the day Ricciardo was quicker than us and drove a very good race. We need to analyse our strategy as our pitstop choice allowed Red Bull to jump us for the podium, so we will go away and assess what we could have done differently and rectify that for next time.”
Ricciardo felt a bit lucky to hold off Massa for the final podium position.
“Felipe was coming on strong at the end,” Ricciardo said in the post-race press conference. “At the beginning of the stint I pulled him, but he came back stronger than expected. I held on pretty comfortably at the end, but he kept me honest til the end.”
Williams was, however, able to consolidate its grip on third place in the Constructor’s Championship. Massa and Bottas ending fourth and fifth netted them 22 points total, while Fernando Alonso got only eight points for sixth. Williams now has 42 points on Ferrari for the position (238-196) with just two races remaining.
“We can definitely still take a positive from today,” Bottas said. “We managed to extend the lead to them. We’re pretty well established with two more races to go.”
The 22-point haul for the day represents Williams’ second-best this year, after bagging 27 at both Austria and Italy (third and fourth place results there).