Even if Mercedes continue to dominate here this weekend, Williams believe they can take the fight to Ferrari in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
In the last two races, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas finished third in Canada, while his team-mate, Felipe Massa, did likewise in Austria after an aerodynamic upgrade.
“The car was very good and our latest aero work paid off,” Massa said here. “Silverstone is a great circuit, and I’m confident that its sweeping high-speed corners will suit our car. This is our home race and spirits in the team are high. We aim to make it a hat-trick of podiums.”
Bottas, who finished second in last year’s race, agreed. “It’s old school here, and the bits from Austria should work slightly better here. The long straights are where we have been strong for the last 18 months, and the high-speed corners. The update has definitely given us more downforce, so if we make better use of that and get everything right, we could be in for a really strong weekend.”
With either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg expected to win for Mercedes, Williams are keen to outperform Ferrari once again as the pressure mounts on the Italian team after a series of disappointing races following Sebastian Vettel’s shock win in Malaysia.
Vettel was on the receiving end of a surprise when his former Red Bull team-mate, Mark Webber, revealed just how bad the animonsity between the pair had been in Malaysia in 2013. In the race, Vettel passed Webber against team orders as the Australian was obeying an instruction to turn down his engine while leading.
Vettel went on to win after an incident that also hurt Webber’s relationship with team boss Christian Horner. Webber, writing in his book Aussie Grit, said: “Horner admitted that the team had received a letter from Seb’s lawyer a few days after the Malaysian race, stating that they were in breach of his contract by giving him an ‘unreasonable instruction/team order’.
“Whatever his thinking was, when he overtook me I wasn’t so much angry as very sad that the team had reached this sorry state.”
Meanwhile, McLaren are considering giving Fernando Alonso and home hero Jenson Button old engines to avoid grid penalties similar to those which left them on the back of the grid in Austria.
But Button remained upbeat, saying: “It raises your spirits when you are at home, it’s always special. The British fans will be here whether it’s raining or 32 degrees, a British guy in front or at the back.
“The confidence is high in the team, and though the last two races have been difficult, there is massive belief that we will improve. But I’ll live in the moment and do the best that I can right now.”
Daniil Kvyat of Red Bull, who also have been hit for having to change engines, said of the penalty system: “This rule is a bit ridiculous. I don’t know any other sport where you get an injury and you have to start even further back.”