F1 German Grand Prix: Susie Wolff quick in Williams to silence doubters

Williams test driver continuing her target to reach the grid after Friday showing at Hockenheim


Susie Wolff admits that for an agonising moment on Friday morning she thought the nightmare of Silverstone had returned.

There, two weeks ago, she had been due to drive Valtteri Bottas’s Williams FW36 in a practice session, making her the first woman to run at an official grand prix since Giovanna Amati in 1992. But her Mercedes engine lost oil pressure after four laps – ironic, since her husband, Toto, still a shareholder in Williams, is the head of Mercedes Benz Motorsport.

Now, at Hockenheim, she found herself creeping pitwards again, this time on her first lap. “I just thought, ‘Oh no, not again!’ she said. “There was a problem with the electronic throttle pedal, but when I got back to the pits the boys said, ‘It’s only electronic, we can fix it’. ”

When she got back out on track she set a fastest lap. Of course, many of the real hotshoes were still in the pits, but Kevin Magnussen was out in his McLaren and she beat his time. His presence validated her lap, rendered it respectable.


Was it a stunt by Williams to garner publicity? Absolutely not. This was no dog-and-pony show. Her job was to go out and drive fast, to get as much feedback to provide to the team to help them set up the cars.

“I just made sure that I got that feedback,” she said. “That was where knowing the track helped so much because I knew which corners I could push hard in, and those in which I had to take care.

“I wasn’t quite sure in myself just how quickly I could get up to speed, but it felt good and I did get there quickly. I knew that I could do it, and I did.”

Read more: Rosberg takes pole as Hamilton crashes out
Brake failure sends Hamilton spinning out of qualifying

After all the big players had come out she finished the session in 15th place. Felipe Massa, who took pole position for Williams in Austria, was 11th, only two-tenths of a second quicker. She was three-tenths ahead of the target Williams had set her. And when Bottas took his car back in the afternoon, he was three-tenths off the Brazilian.

Can Wolff reach the next stage, and race in F1? She certainly has the talent, but money is the key; there are a lot of hungry racers with big budgets. Look at Pastor Maldonado and his $40 million (£23m) bag of Venezuelan boodle.

Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the iWatch for you? Well, it depends if you want for the fitness tech, or the style
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own