The team most are tipping as the ‘dark horse’ at the Australian GP are satisfied following a productive Friday in Melbourne.
Williams headed Down Under after topping the final test in Bahrain and enjoying the best reliability of any team on the grid.
On Friday that theme continued as the team somewhat eased its way into the new season completing basic evaluations of the tyres and further understanding the car.
“We’ve been encouraged by the performance of the car in both short and long runs,” said engineer Rod Nelson.
“It was a constructive day for us and we have collected a lot of useful data to help in preparing the car for this weekend.”
Though Massa set the fastest time in testing, it was Valtteri Bottas who led both practice sessions in the Martini-liveried FW36 – holding a two-tenth advantage after the qualifying simulation in the second 90 minute practice.
“It was a good day for us today,” the Finn told the team following his ninth place in FP2.
“We had no big issues with the car during the two sessions, so the team has done a great job in putting the car together as it has been fully stripped and analysed since the last test.”
The team may have been slightly concerned, given the expectation, at the gap between themselves and the top when the soft tyres were used in FP2, indeed Bottas’ best was over a second slower than both Mercedes, and Massa admitted there was still work to be done.
“There is a lot for us to work on tonight to improve the set-up of the car,” said the Brazilian.
Williams, I believe, still maintain their roles as the ‘dark horse’ in Melbourne, with reliability set to play a key role and this still remaining an area of great strength for the team, providing they can find some pace on a single lap, they should be right there.
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