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Williams saves the best for last

2014-11-24 09:53

GLORY DAYS: Williams' driver Felipe Massa celebrates on the podium his second place in the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP on Sunday Nov 23. Image: AFP / Karim Sahib

ABU DHABI, UAE - Resurgent Williams saved the best to last on Sunday with a double podium finish and points bonanza in the 2014 season-ending Abu Dhabi GP.

The former champion team, ninth overall in 2013 with only five points, cashed in like a lottery win with its one-race haul of 66, ensuring the team ended the year at heights last visited more than a decade ago.

DOUBLE POINTS SCORE

The unprecedented helping of double points for the final round helped, of course, but Williams still outscored everybody else and made sure of third in the Constructors' points and a finish ahead of Ferrari for the first time since 1997.

Deputy principal Claire Williams, whose father and team founder Frank has been in hospital in England for several weeks, said: "The work to turn the team around has been hard but I am so happy to see the smiles back on the faces of the people that work here.

"This is just the first step in a great future for Williams."

Felipe Massa was second, after challenging strongly for his first win since 2008, while Valtteri Bottas was third for a team that won nine Constructors' titles between 1980 and 1997 but then fell on hard times.

'JUST THE BEGINNING'

The result was a special thrill for Massa, who left Ferrari in 2013 after years of playing second fiddle to Fernando Alonso. Massa said: "I'm so proud to be racing for Williams. Really, it's just the beginning. We can do a lot more than that.

"It was so nice to see that we are there, we can win the race, we can fight for victory, we can fight for championships... it shows that we didn't forget how to win."

Mercedes-powered Williams ended the year with 320 points, 85 behind outgoing champion team Red Bull but 104 in front of Ferrari which has two champions in its line-up and a far bigger budget.

Bottas was fourth in the Drivers' standings, Massa seventh after a season that saw him make three appearances on the podium.

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