Williams was damned if it did, damned if it didn’t execute team orders on Sunday


Williams Martini Racing found itself trapped between a rock and a hard place during Sunday’s British Grand Prix, following what had been a “start of the season” contender from both its drivers, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas.

Essentially, it couldn’t win – both on-track or in the court of public opinion – by staying true to its morals and core values Sir Frank Williams has instilled for nearly the better part of 40 years.

More: British GP Post-Race Paddock Pass 

Rare is the chance in modern day Formula 1 when Mercedes AMG Petronas is vulnerable.

The team won the last seven Grands Prix of 2014 and eight of the first nine to open the 2015 Formula 1 season.

In that 15-of-16 streak that matches the run achieved by McLaren in its all-conquering 1988 season, what Mercedes hasn’t witnessed frequently are races where rivals have the opportunity or the occasion to beat them in a single Grand Prix.

Yet Sunday, as at Austria last year, Williams had that all-too-rare shot. As in Austria, Williams didn’t capitalize on it.

Massa and Bottas made the aforementioned dynamic start, before the radio calls came out over the broadcast… and the armchair quarterbacking began.

Initially, the call was for the two to hold position. Later, Bottas was told he could pass cleanly, but the Finn never got close enough to make a move, even with DRS.

We’ll never know whether Bottas could have banked enough of a gap, if Williams made the call to allow him past, in order to make his first stop and retain the lead ahead of Lewis Hamilton.

Frankly, the race was lost as much when Hamilton undercut the Williams pair in front of him.

The Englishman stopped first, before either Williams driver or Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg; the team made an excellent 2.4-second stop, and by Lap 22 Hamilton had the lead he would not relinquish the rest of the race.

From a purely personal perspective, it felt as though Williams lost the race by virtue of not allowing Bottas past early… but this is Williams we’re talking about, so it didn’t surprise me too much.

Team orders and Williams have not been inextricably linked as say, team orders and Ferrari.

Still, twice there have been drivers ignore team orders to move aside for teammates. The 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix was arguably the most famous in the team’s history; Carlos Reutemann refused to let that year’s defending World Champion Alan Jones through in Rio.

On a much smaller scale, this wasn’t the first time Bottas and Massa have been involved in potential team orders situation. At Malaysia last year, Massa ignored a call to let Bottas past for seventh. The two were back to racing each other for position the next race at Bahrain.

This wasn’t a case where anyone ignored orders; it was just that no call was made from the pit wall to say Massa needed to move over.

Psychologically speaking, I’m not sure it would have done Massa any good to hear “Felipe, Valtteri is faster than you,” as my MotorSportsTalk colleague Luke Smith noted was a possibility during the race.

If you’re a fan of fair play and letting teammates race each other without team intervention, then chances are you will have liked Williams’ call to let it play out as it did, even though it may have been the call – or non-call – that lost them the race.

If you’re a fan of team orders, ruthlessness and “win-at-all-costs” mentality, then I can see where you take issue with Williams’ strategic decisions and letting the race play out as it did.

As Williams notes though, they’d get negative feedback either way:

The thing this proves unequivocally is how difficult it is to beat Mercedes, now, in 2015.

This was the first time Williams has led all season and as the race built up I never had a sense of “well, Williams could actually win this thing;” it was more a sense of “when does Mercedes get ahead?”

The way Williams allowed the race to play out, from a sporting perspective, was grand. There was tension throughout as to whether they would make a call, and that, coupled with the late rain made for a highly entertaining Grand Prix from start-to-finish, as Luke notes here.

But Williams was damned if they did, and damned if they didn’t on Sunday.

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”