Williams were being billed as the third fastest team coming out of testing, but they were beaten by Red Bull today, despite a steady drive by Felipe Massa to fifth.
The red flag helped the Williams, who was ahead of the chasing midfield group, held back by an impressive drive by Romain Grosjean, but a long way behind Daniel Ricciardo, who was not far off getting a podium.
The Brazilian said at the end of the race, “It was a good race. To finish fifth, scoring some good points, is definitely a good start to the season.
“The red flag in the middle helped us to keep our strategy to one-stop and, thanks to that, we managed to overtake both Toro Rossos who had decided to go for different tyres.
“That’s why I am happy with the result – and for Valtteri as well, he started P16 and finished P8, so it was a great drive for him.”
Valtteri Bottas, who started 16th place after changing his gearbox before the race, taking a five place grid penalty for his qualifying position in 11th, finished in a points paying position, held back behind Hulkenberg and Grosjean for much of the second half of the race.
He said, “It has obviously been a very difficult week. The struggles we had with qualifying and then the grid penalty compromised the race.
“It wasn’t the nice clean race we were hoping for, but we still have points from both of our cars. We are definitely aiming for better positions, and myself personally, so I am looking forward to Bahrain because I am sure we can do better than this weekend.”
Image via Williams