Felipe Massa believes he has something to prove at this weekend's Russian Grand Prix, having been denied the opportunity to add to his points tally at last year's race.
The Williams-Mercedes package looked potent in Sochi twelve months ago, with Valtteri Bottas setting the first fastest lap of his F1 car en route
to a third-place finish, but, while the Finn was left to regret going easy on Nico Rosberg, his team-mate was still ruing the mechanical issue that left him to come from 18th on the grid.
Massa suffered a fuel-pump failure in the first phase of qualifying and, despite rapid early progress, was only able to recover to eleventh on race day after his strategy twice left him behind Sergio Perez's Force India.
“Russia is a very nice track, with a few long straights which makes it 'interesting' for overtaking,” Massa noted, “The circuit has almost everything and this makes setting up the car really important and the importance of downforce evident. I hope to make amends for qualifying last year and I'm confident we can have a competitive race.”
For Williams' head of vehicle development Rob Smedley, the objectives for the weekend are fairly clear.
“We are looking to reduce the [championship] gap to the teams in front and extend the gap to the teams behind and we hope to further realise those goals in Russia,” he explained, “The facilities in Sochi are excellent considering it's a new track and we are hoping for another good race, with plenty of overtaking like last year.
“The track has some quick straights and low speed corners, so the compromise on downforce has to be correct, but Sochi is a circuit that suits our car with high power and drag sensitivities. We managed to have a good weekend last year from a performance point of view and we will be looking to build on this.”