Williams starts strong, but struggles home 8th, 9th in Bahrain

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Williams Martini Racing launched out of the gate with both Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa making flying starts from sixth and seventh up to second and third by the first turn.

And that was as good as it got from there before the pair of drivers fell back as the race went on.

Bottas, from the inside line and sixth, launched through the middle past Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull and Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari to then get into third place.

It was there though he attempted to pass Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes for second at the inside at Turn 1, only to collect Hamilton and push the three-time and defending World Champion into a spin and cause contact for both cars.

He and Massa made it out of the corner in second and third, but once they switched onto Pirelli’s medium compound, they fell back as the race progressed.

Bottas’ race went from bad to worse as he was assessed a drive-through penalty for the first corner contact. He ended a spot behind Massa, with the pair eighth and ninth, and was also given two penalty points for the clash with Hamilton.

“The first 200 meters into Turn 1 was the highlight of my race. Everything after that was very disappointing,” Bottas told NBCSN’s Will Buxton.

“The Mercedes cars didn’t expect me there, and maybe I braked too late as well. I need to have a look.”

On the contact, Bottas said he could have possibly avoided braking too late.

“I think definitely I could avoided (the contact) a little. But I didn’t expect them to slow down that much. Sometimes it works, and sometimes you brake too early and someone passes you from the outside.”

Massa was more elaborate in noting the struggles on the mediums.

“I was so happy after corner one I went from seventh to second. And now I’m so disappointed to finish eighth in the race!” Massa told Buxton.

“Our strategy didn’t work compared to the other teams. It’s a race we were supposed to score more points. We couldn’t do anything. We scored a little points. The race pace on the mediums was disappointing compared to the other cars. It was good on the supersofts, but after that, not.”

Massa also had debuted a new front wing this race, which he hoped would improve performance

“I hope the numbers are important for the engineers. I hope we can understand things better, be strong and do a better strategy.”

You can note Williams’ tire strategy play here compared to others: