Baku, June 24, AZERTAC
Felipe Massa is upbeat about the form of Williams in Baku despite finishing FP2 in 11th place after he was hampered by traffic and yellow flags on new tyres, according to Motorsport.
Massa pointed to his own long run performance and teammate Lance Stroll's impressive sixth place as more representative of the true potential of the FW40.
"My position at the end was not the one it was supposed to be," Massa told Motorsport.com. "Because I had a lot of traffic on the new tyres, and I couldn't really put a lap together because of the traffic and then yellow flags.
"Unfortunately it didn't help for my new tyres, but I was quite happy on the long run, consistent, so at the end we are in the fight."
Williams discovered that it was too light on downforce last year, when the team set record straightline speeds, and Massa confirmed that it has changed its philosophy.
"Yes, last year, and in the way that we choose low downforce in our car, it was not really correct. This year I believe we are in the right range, so it should be better."
Stroll, who avoided any incidents on a day when several more experienced drivers were caught out, said that getting laps in was paying off.
"What was really positive was we didn't have any issues or nothing that got in the way of our running programme," said the Canadian. "What was really important for me today was on this kind of track, you gain confidence every lap.
"It was about doing laps and doing everything we needed to get done in our programme done. Today we did exactly that, we didn't lose any laps with problems we just managed to get everything done."
He added that he felt much more comfortable than he did at his home race.
"In Canada I felt the track was tricky for many reasons – here it's a long out lap, so you have time to warm the tyres properly and all that. Also I just like the rhythm of the track.
"It was not that I disliked Canada, it was just tricky – you have to attack the first kerb, flick the car across, there are a lot of chicanes and it's about knowing where to position the car.
"It took me until the race to really figure it out fully to be honest. And we didn't get a clean qualifying done in Canada which is a big reason for where we were on Saturday.
"Here just had a clean day – lucky not to get involved in yellow flags, warm-up, and had clean out laps. On my side I felt I built up to it well, I was enjoying driving the track. It's good fun round here."
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