Williams banish the ghosts of dismal 2013

Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:11am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

LONDON (Reuters) - Valtteri Bottas scored twice as many points in Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix than Williams managed in all of last year but the Finn and his Formula One team still left Melbourne knowing they could have done better.

The 24-year-old finished fifth, thanks to the disqualification of Red Bull's second placed Australian Daniel Ricciardo hours after the race, in a car that showed pre-season`optimism was not misplaced.

Although Germany's Nico Rosberg took a dominant win for Mercedes at Albert Park, after team mate Lewis Hamilton had retired from pole, Mercedes-powered Williams laid down a marker for the future.

They are still a long way from where they want to be but there is a new sense of optimism, and purpose, about the former champions as they fight back from the wilderness of last year.

"I think Mercedes are a standout team in terms of pace - and I still think there's another team that's very quick, they just didn't really show it today or they made mistakes," said McLaren's Jenson Button - who started out with Williams in 2000 - after the race.

Both McLaren drivers ended up on the podium, with Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen second and Button third, to send that team top of the constructors' standings.

Bottas and new Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa felt it could just as easily have been them.

"If we had a good qualifying, a clean race, we had a car here to fight for the podium," Bottas said, and Massa - whose car was rear-ended at the start by Caterham's Japanese Kamui Kobayashi - agreed.

"I would say Australia was a race where we could finish both cars and in a similar position to McLaren, so maybe we were going to be first in the championship," the former Ferrari driver told reporters.   Continued...

Williams Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland drives during the Australian F1 Grand Prix at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne March 16, 2014. REUTERS/Brandon Malone