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F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: 'Pressure off' for Williams after securing third

Williams heads into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with an open mindset having already taken third in the F1 Constructors' championship
Williams says it heads into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with an open mindset having already secured third in the F1 Constructors' championship which has freed the team from any extra pressure.

Rob Smedley, Williams' head of performance engineering, feels his team can use the season finale as a one-off, as both drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas have little left to fight for aside from potential race victories and podium finishes.

The pair secured a memorable double rostrum result 12 months ago in Abu Dhabi behind the newly-crowned F1 champion Lewis Hamilton and Smedley is eyeing up a similar result at a circuit which plays to the strengths of the FW37.

“We have already secured third in the constructors' championship which is a great achievement for the team and takes any pressure off, other than that that we put on ourselves,” Smedley said. “We aim to have a really strong race and finish the season on a high.

“The circuit should be suited to the characteristics of our car and we delivered a great performance last year so hope to replicate that. Abu Dhabi is always somewhat of a challenge as half of the practices are in the midday sunlight, but the important sessions are during the twilight hours. We have to divide our programme up to utilise this time efficiently and not get carried away with car handling data we obtain during the day.”

In somewhat of an anticlimactic end to the 2015 F1 season with all the titles and majority of places decided, Bottas will go head-to-head against Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in the tussle for fourth in the drivers' championship, with the Williams driver holding a one-point advantage on his fellow Finn.

Massa's sixth place in the F1 drivers' standings looks nailed on with 23-point lead on Daniil Kvyat, while he trails Raikkonen in fifth by 18 points, after being excluded from the final classification at his home event last time out due to illegal tyre temperatures and pressures.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
14.11.2015 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW37
14.11.2015 - Free Practice 3, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW37
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13.11.2015 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW37
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November 26, 2015 4:18 AM

Nice job by Williams but they need to make a step change improvement in their aero and chassis. It is CLEAR that if Red Bull has more power in 2016, they will eat Williams alive. They need to close the gap to Ferrari

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