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Lowe: Williams F1 ‘very disappointed’ with first half performance

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Williams Formula 1 technical chief Paddy Lowe says the team is “very disappointed” with its display through the first half of the 2017 season, sitting fifth in the constructors’ championship during the summer break.

Williams entered 2017 looking to bounce back after falling from third to fifth in the constructors’ standings last year, with Force India emerging as the top midfield team.

Force India has continued to hold that position so far in 2017, taking points with both its cars in all but two races to pick up 101 points.

Williams, by comparison, has struggled more with inconsistency and reliability, leaving it with just 41 points, with Toro Rosso just two behind in P6.

For technical chief Lowe, there can be no denying that Williams has underperformed, although he feels the performance of the FW40 car has been more deserving of its current points haul.

“Definitely at the half-term report stage we’re not looking as good as we’d like. We’re very disappointed, the car is quicker than that points table would reflect,” Lowe said.

“I think one of our biggest problems has been that we haven’t been scoring the points we should have done at the track with our speed of car. That’s for a number of different reasons.

“On top of that, we’ve seen a lot of variation from circuit to circuit. There are places that we significantly underperform and we really need to have a car that will perform more equally at different destinations, so that’s a big focus for next year.”

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).