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Vital talking point - Did Williams get it wrong?

No one could have expected the start to this years British Grand Prix.

The dominant Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg had once again locked out the front row in qualifying.

After Hamilton's poor start in Austria, all of the pre-race talk revolved around the pairs decision run different clutches. Whoever made the right call was likely to lead the race and ultimately win.

But as the lights went out both cars made equal starts, but in comparison to the Williams of Felipe Massa and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes looked sluggish off the line, this meant that both Williams past the Mercedes.

Hamilton eventually got back past Bottas, but after a safety car period Hamilton's daredevil move to take the lead failed and the Brit surrendered second place back to Bottas.

For the next 15 laps Williams led the race one-two, an unexpected scenario and one they probably didn't plan for an as such they had a mixed response to.

The crowd excited by the prospect of a four-way battle for the lead with all four drivers separated by three seconds and all within DRS of each-other was greeted by the Williams team radio appearing to tell Bottas to not race Massa.

The plan appeared to try and get their drivers to not race in order to pull away from the Mercedes pair. A decent plan, but the problem was Bottas, aided by the DRS down the straights, appeared quicker than Massa.

Bottas declared he wouldn't race him but would overtake cleanly if he could.

This led to multiple chances for Bottas but he couldn't make a move, all the while Hamilton and Rosberg remained close behind.

On lap 20, Hamilton performed the undercut, pitting early, getting some clean race track ahead of him and after Massa and Bottas had stopped Hamilton was in the lead.

But did Williams do the right thing in trying to control the race? Or should they have left their drivers to it?

'The key thing there was we didn't want to get held up fighting each other too hard and that was the message that we gave because if they were fighting each other too hard then we weren't pulling away from Mercedes. We saw that we could have a reasonable pace against them, we knew that they were saving up their tyres until the end of the stint and we had to make sure we still had good tyres.

'Once it became clear that everything had calmed down a little bit then they were free to race as long as it was a clean pass and they weren't going to be backing each other up into the Mercedes then that was absolutely fine. We gave that message maybe two laps later and they carried on like that until the stops.'
Williams Head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley told Sky Sports.

He added: 'This is Williams and we have our rules of engagement and the rules of engagement were that we were happy to let them race as long as they weren't holding each other up.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday July 7 2015

Time: 10:00AM


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