Williams' head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley says it was "inevitable" Nico Rosberg would pass Valtteri Bottas when he came up behind the Finn around halfway through the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.

Bottas said he had been taken by surprise a bit in post-race interviews, adding that he probably should have done more to defend second, but Smedley rejected any talk that he had 'given the place away'.

"I don't really see it like that," Smedley said. "I think when Nico went passed, he was on 25 lap older tyres at that point and he still pretty much drove around Valtteri quite easily. If it didn't happen then, it probably would have happened on the back straight or a lap later. I think you are just talking about the inevitable to be honest."

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"Valtteri is always very good at being self-critical and trying to look inward. That is a hugely commendable attribute he has as a human being and as a racing driver. But I think the reality is he was beaten by a much, much quicker car," he added.

Smedley also noted that it was clear, especially from looking at eventual winner, Lewis Hamilton, that the Mercedes' had a lot more pace in hand.

"If you look back through Hamilton's first stint and his second stint to a certain extent, you will see all of a sudden there are these anomalous laps. He is going along at a certain pace and then all of a sudden he gains 1 or 1.2 or 1.3 seconds.

"He is not under pressure and there is no one behind him. He is going to win the race quite comfortably and all of a sudden he puts in these laps.

"That is there real pace isn't it?"

Asked if tyre degradation was a factor in why Bottas slipped further and further behind Hamilton before his first and only stop on lap 27, Smedley replied: "We did get a bit of degradation in the first stint on the rear [with Valtteri], which is certainly more than we expected.

"But again, Lewis was just able to maintain a pace and when he wanted to he could just knock that pace down a bit. He was managing the tyres. They have got a three or four second gap.

"If they really need to they can turn it on and if they don't then they just eek it out because that gets them to the end with less degradation than everybody else."


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It says a lot about the Mercedes engine advantage that Rosberg can make such a massive mistake and still recover to finish a comfortable second.
Something needs to be done about 'unfreezing' the engine regs, otherwise we can expect 2015 to be more of the same and that cannot be a good thing for F1.