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Ferrari and Williams head to head: Bottas in the hospital

Ferrari and Williams head to head
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M ercedes will drive its own race at the Australian GP. But behind that it could be exciting. Williams and Ferrari are practically head to head. Felipe Massa beat Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen in the battle for third place on the grid by 0.039 and 0.072 seconds respectively. Valtteri Bottas was three tenths behind, within striking distance. Without the mistake in the finish curve, the Finn would also have set the times of his teammate and the Ferrari driver.

Does Bottas have to do without Melbourne?

Bottas went into the last section with a handicap of qualification. In Q2, the fourth place in the World Cup from last year suddenly reported on the radio and complained of severe pain in the lower back. When he got out of his car in the parc fermé, he hobbled. The pain got worse. To be on the safe side, Bottas spent one night in Melbourne's Alfred Hospital. The outcome is uncertain.

Vettel sees a realistic chance on the podium in his first Ferrari outing. 'It's not far from fourth to third. The Mercedes are out of reach, but a lot can happen in the race.' And how does Vettel explain the huge lead of the Silver Arrows? 'The engine is still the benchmark. Last year they had a good car. This year it's a very good one.'

Vettel is aiming for place behind Mercedes

Williams technical director Pat Symonds had predicted a close race with Ferrari in a speech to the assembled team before leaving for Australia. The Williams FW37 is slightly faster than the Ferrari on the straight. The red cars make up for that in the corners.

Both Vettel and Raikkonen blamed themselves for having a Williams in front of them. 'We're fast, but we have to improve in all sectors. I should have done better too,' said Raikkonen self-critically.

At Vettel it was a mixture of a less than optimal strategy and a less than perfect lap. 'I'm not happy with myself because I should have gotten more out of my fast lap.' Like his team mate, the Heppenheimer only had one set of fresh tires left in Q3. But while Raikkonen was able to save his new set for the last attempt, Vettel had to unpack it right at the beginning.

He had used two sets of soft tires in Q2 without any need. When Ferrari realized that the given time was enough,Vettel broke off the attempt. The run-in tires were put back in the electric blankets, but the time until the beginning of Q3 was not enough to bring them back to the required starting temperature. 'You would have been too cold for the first try.' So the fresh sentence had to go to the car on the first exit. A small disadvantage because the route got faster and faster.


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