SILVERSTONE, 4th July 2014 (F1 Plus / Graham Keilloh) - Both Williams drivers reflected on a difficult first day of practice at Silverstone for the Grove team, wherein Felipe Massa had a big crash in the first session and reserve driver Susie Wolff stepping in today could only complete four laps due to an engine problem, before further problems struck the team in second practice.
Felipe Massa, after finishing up in P11 in the second session, noted: ‘(It was) not a very positive day for me, because of the crash. So I’m just very disappointed to have that crash starting the session, so I lost time on the second session and also I had to put some pieces on the car that were old spec, which shouldn’t be a problem for tomorrow but for today yes, and also I didn’t have a very good balance in the car as well.
‘I’m sure things can be much better tomorrow, things can be consistent as well, to get the right balance and everything with all the pieces set-up for the race.’
Massa also thought a repeat of the qualifying result of last time out in Austria for the team was unlikely: ‘I think it will be more difficult on this track definitely, we see that the Ferrari and Red Bull are stronger…it won’t be so easy to fight.’
Valtteri Bottas was further up the order, ending up sixth in the FP2 standings despite part of his engine cover detaching late on, but he noted that Silverstone’s notorious crosswinds made things difficult: ‘It’s very windy, we remain focussed on set-up work…it’s a really difficult track to set up the car for’.
Massa however refused to use the wind as an excuse for his accident: ‘The wind didn’t help, but it’s my responsibility, I just went a little bit wide… and the astroturf just pushed me inside and I spun’.
Both pilots also looked ahead also to the possibility of wet running on Saturday: ‘Maybe tomorrow it’ll be very different weather so we need to clever about everything’ said Massa.
‘We need to be ready for it’ Bottas concurred, ‘but we are at Silverstone so it (the weather) can be anything. But we’ve made quite a few improvements to the car in the wet so I’m quite confident.’
The team’s Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds also afterwards noted that the day was a particularly laden with problems for the Grove outfit.
‘It’s been a difficult day’ said Symonds, ‘these are the sort of contrasts you get in motorsport; great weekend in Austria and today we’ve been like a dog running after a rabbit, and just trying to chase our problems down.
‘Engine problems this morning – we were running an engine right up past the end of its life it was a risk we decided to take and it didn’t come off. Accident for Felipe, bodywork problems this afternoon. On top of that it’s not been an easy day anyway, the wind has been gusting and it’s difficult to get a read on the car, the tyres have been hard. So it brought us back down to earth’.
Symonds nevertheless noted the change between this year and last at Silverstone for the Williams team, when at that point the squad had no constructors’ championship points: ‘The improvements being made in the team are quite dramatic and continue to make improvements all the way through, so I think we need a good, solid, ambitious long-term programme and just keep improving.’