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Distance to Mercedes shortened: Williams keeps development pace high

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Shorter distance to Mercedes
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W Illiams technical director Pat Symonds is proud of two things. 'First: We have shown that we can develop our car further in the course of the season. And second: We have shortened the gap to Mercedes.' Williams is alone with that. All other teams fell even further behind the Silver Arrows. The superiority of the Mercedes in the last five races was overwhelming.

Williams was able to keep up because the engineering department in Grove unpacked an aero package at the same time as their colleagues from Mercedes. At the Japanese GP, Mercedes and Williams made a significant leap. According to internal calculations of four tenths of a second.

'We didn't get everything that was promised. For us it was still a step forward because our opponents didn't bring anything new,' said Felipe Massa . The engineers have managed to pack downforce on the FW36 without increasing the aerodynamic drag. The Williams was the fastest car on the straight before and after.

Williams shortens the gap to half a second

A look at the numbers for the races in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi confirms Symonds' impression . Both tracks are about the same length, both races took place at night. There are seven months in between. In Bahrain, the fastest Williams was 1.062 seconds short of Nico Rosberg's best time in practice. In Abu Dhabi the gap was only 0.545 seconds.

Same picture in the race. Massa separated from winner Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain 31.2 seconds. Despite a safety car. In Abu Dhabi, the Brazilian only missed victory by 2.5 seconds.

Another circumstance shows how Williams has improved in the arms race. In Bahrain, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas each had to pit three times to change tires. Your colleagues from Mercedes only twice. At the season finale, Williams had his tire management under control. As many pit stops as the winners. Massa was able to switch to the super soft tires in the last stint. Even a one-stop race seemed possible.

Massa is playing poker with super soft tires

If the runner-up would have -The 2008 world champion might even win the race if he had finished with his second set of tires? After all, he had already reached the 43rd lap and was still brisk with 1.47 times. At the time, Massa was a head start by12.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton indicated.

The World Championship seventh does not believe that it would have been enough: 'There were still 12 laps to drive. That is long. I already felt a slight loss of grip. In the The tires would have collapsed over the last five laps. I would never have been able to hold Lewis that way. '

But Massa admits that he would have finished second with a perseverance tactic. Behind Bottas there was 38 seconds of air. 'That's why I could afford the poker with the super soft tires. It was the only chance to put Lewis under pressure. And the safest way to get to the finish line.'

'I'm on for a few laps I believed my chance of victory. As long as I caught up with Lewis a second per lap. The last four laps were then out of breath. Pirelli tires can't take it when you drive so long in a row at the limit. At some point they exceeded their maximum grip . Then it goes downhill quickly. '

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