Valtteri Bottas had set-up changes to thank for his P4 grid slot in Spain
Williams driver comes good when it matters as Massa's mistake leaves him P9
By Mike Wise at Circuit de Catalunya. Last Updated: 10/05/14 6:58pm
Valtteri Bottas: Made big set-up changes
Valtteri Bottas had set-up changes to thank for his fourth-place grid slot at the Spanish GP while Felipe Massa reckoned he could have joined his Williams team-mate but for a mistake in qualifying.
Bottas was 11th fastest in P3 but came good when it mattered - the Finn admitting he had borrowed his revised set-up from Massa's car and also reckoning that fourth was "slightly better than expected" on a track not necessarily suited to Williams' FW36.
"I had a really nice lap in the end, which felt good because it had been a difficult weekend so far for me," he said afterwards. "The practice two and three was quite difficult; we made some set-up changes for qualifying - quite big changes - and then finally started to get more trust in the rear of the car.
"Of course, it required a completely different driving style but it was something I noticed from the other car, Felipe's car.
"Practice three was so difficult for me, I thought it was better to make a bigger change than stay as we are because we were struggling."
Massa, by contrast, was fourth fastest in P3 and there or thereabouts again in the first two qualifying sessions. However, a lock-up in the final sector during Q3 dropped him to ninth.
"I had a mistake," the Brazilian admitted. "I had an incredible qualifying: in Q1, Q2 I was very competitive and then in Q3, I just locked the rear tyres in braking for corner ten.
"I lost maybe six or seven tenths just in one sector."
With Mercedes again well clear of the rest, Bottas has set his sights on the third-placed Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo in Sunday's race but admitted that even passing the Australian could prove a tall order.
"At the moment, it seems like they are still a bit quicker than us, also in the long runs. We know it's going to be difficult, we know we have the advantage in straightline speed, so we never know," he said.
"Of course, we're going to aim to go forwards rather than backwards. We'll try and do everything tomorrow to either keep the position or gain."
With overtaking generally difficult on the 4.655km track, the start of the race will be crucial, with Massa, who lines up behind Ferrari pair Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso as well as McLaren's Jenson Button, acknowledging that he could be in for a long afternoon.
"I think we should not lose any opportunity tomorrow to overtake and have free air in front. But it won't be easy starting ninth," he added.