Felipe Massa says a problem with his suspension left him fearing that he would not finish the Austrian Grand Prix.

Having started from pole position, Massa had dropped to fourth place behind both Mercedes cars and his team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages of the race. While he was able to hold off Fernando Alonso, Massa faded away from the front three and attributed it to a problem with the car that developed late on.

"The car was OK but I had a problem at the end of the race," Massa said. "The car started bottoming out, I had a problem with the suspension and the rear went down completely. I started bottoming massively and in the last ten laps the rear left started vibrating massively. So I was really, really scared that maybe I was not going to finish the race."

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But Massa was not too disheartened to drop away from the podium positions despite starting from pole.

"Having feet on the ground I think third was maybe our best position today ... We did not do the perfect strategy, but anyway it's part of the improvement."

And Massa said having both cars finishing in the top four and racing Mercedes for much of the race was proof to Williams that it has the ability to fight at the front again.

"I think it's very important. I think it shows that this team can achieve a lot, this team can do a lot and the result today shows we can compete with the other teams. We can compete with big teams like Ferrari, like Red Bull; Mercedes we need to be lucky a little bit but I think it shows we are at a good level."

Asked if he expects more podiums to follow, Massa replied: "I hope so."