OUTPACING THE MERCS: Williams drivers Felipe Massa (centre) and Valterri Bottas (left) outrun the dominant Merc duo at the start of the 2015 British GP. Image: AFP / Oli Scarff
SILVERSTONE, England - Williams was left stinging in the rain on Sunday after what might have been a sensational home grand prix for the British F1 team ended up as a damp squib.
"I think at the end of any race where you were leading and then don't finish in those positions, there's a sense of disappointment," deputy principal Claire Williams told Reuters after Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas finished fourth and fifth.
"Both Felipe and Valtteri made stunning starts and outpaced the Mercedes and led the race. Williams was 1-2 at a 2015 British Grand Prix for the first time in I don't know how long," she added.
Massa led the first 20 laps, losing out to Mercedes' world champion and race winner Lewis Hamilton at the first pitstop and then dropping further behind when the rain, typical of any British summer, came down.
Bottas also led for a lap before his first stop.
"If it had stayed dry, we should have been on the podium. Sometimes you just get unlucky," said Williams, whose team has won at home 10 times but not since 1997.
In hotter conditions, the Mercedes-powered Williams had looked a fraction slower than the works Mercedes but quicker than Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel who finished third.
When the skies opened, any aerodynamic advantage dissolved like soggy cardboard.
"Since two years we are trying to understand why we are not quick in the rain," Massa told reporters.
"If you see the difference in terms of lap times, we were maybe fighting with Mercedes. They were one or two tenths quicker than us, not more than that, in free air. In the rain we were maybe two seconds (slower).
"Last year was very bad in the rain and this year also," added Massa. "We try to analyse this but we don't find it (the answer)."
Bottas, who was told early on not to race Massa but focus on pulling away from the Mercedes duo, agreed the weather had scuppered his hopes.
"We really struggled even in the damp - that is when (Mercedes runner-up Nico) Rosberg got us," he said.
"When the speed gets slow we lose a lot of downforce, there was even a big difference between me and Felipe (Massa) on the intermediates. That is still an area we really need to work on, we are so much slower than anyone in the wet."Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.