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F1 Singapore GP: Williams fires blank to slip back to fifth

Both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas endured a race to forget in Singapore as neither scored a single point to see Williams slip back.
Both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas endured a race to forget in Singapore as neither scored a single point to see Williams be shuffled back to fifth behind Force India it the F1 teams' standings.

In a race which had always been predicted to test the British squad, Bottas saw his race effectively ruined when he picked up a puncture on the first lap having bumped wheels with McLaren's Jenson Button before eventually being forced to retire with mechanical damage.

Massa fared better having risen from 11th on the grid to seventh at the mid-stage but once pit stop strategies played out he found himself stuck behind Esteban Gutierrez in 12th to complete a poor performance for Williams.

“It was a difficult race, starting from 10th and 11th,” Rob Smedley, head of performance engineering for Williams, said. “Valtteri's race was almost done on that first lap when he got a puncture and dropped to the back. We suspected he had mechanical damage after his last pitstop, so the best thing to do was retire the car.

“For Felipe, we chose to go on a three-stop strategy to give us a bigger tyre delta at the end, but throughout the pitstops and through the traffic we just seemed to be on the back foot. Coming out behind Gutierrez after that final stop cost us because we might have been able to get onto the back of that Perez train at the end, on a better tyre, but that's racing.”

F1 World Championship Standings (After Singapore GP)

Despite leaving a race without any points for the second time in 2016, Smedley was pleased to see that main rivals in the teams' championship Force India couldn't maximise the opportunity, with Nico Hulkenberg failing to finish and Sergio Perez only taking eighth place.

As a result, Williams are just one point behind Force India heading to the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“For a circuit like this, and in terms of where we are in the championship, the damage has been limited,” he said. “The teams around us didn't get the points they could have done so we've been quite lucky.”

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