Felipe Massa has heralded Williams' mid-race strategy flip as the key to his fifth place finish at the Australian Grand Prix which helped the team lift itself to third in the F1 Constructors' standings after the season opener.
The Brazilian driver made a solid but unspectacular start to the race at Albert Park but after Fernando Alonso and Esteban Gutierrez became entangled in a spectacular crash on lap 18 which temporarily suspended the grand prix Williams made the bold decision to switch to medium tyres to run to the chequered flag.
As a result, Massa was able to clear both Toro Rosso cars to take a comfortable fifth place and says he leaves Melbourne in an upbeat frame of mind thanks to the result, backing Pirelli's belief that the new tyre regulations opened up more racing opportunities.
“It was a good race. To finish fifth, scoring some good points, is definitely a good start to the season,” Massa said. “The red flag in the middle helped us to keep our strategy to one-stop and, thanks to that, we managed to overtake both Toro Rossos who had decided to go for different tyres.
“That's why I am happy with the result - and for Valtteri as well, he started P16 and finished P8, so it was a great drive for him.”