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F1: Williams settled for Mercedes defeat in Austria

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From GMM

Williams settled for defeat to Mercedes in Austria, despite dominating qualifying at the Red Bull Ring.

Chief engineer Rob Smedley told Spain's EFE news agency that the Grove team was "not without problems" as it returned to the podium with Valtteri Bottas' third place behind the two Mercedes.

Some analysts criticised Williams for not pursuing an aggressive enough strategy for victory in Austria, but Smedley says that was a deliberate approach.

"We had to manage the car's systems, including brakes, tyres and other things," he said.

"We had to be sure of finishing in third and fourth places, so we decided not to do anything risky to compete with Mercedes that could have meant we finished fifth, sixth or even lower," Rob Smedley explained.

Indeed, Williams' big haul of points in Austria meant the Oxfordshire based team leapfrogged its grandee rival McLaren for fifth place in the constructors' standings.

Smedley insisted: "If we had reacted to (Mercedes') first stop, our cars would not have finished the race.

"Mercedes had their problems, but I don't think they were going at full speed," he added.

F1 Williams Austria Valtteri Bottas podium
Valtteri Bottas, Williams, third in Austria. (Photo:WRi2)

Finn Bottas says he is not disappointed with his first F1 podium, insisting Williams can now build on the momentum.

"I don't think this is a fluke result. The team has done a great job in bringing performance improvements to the car continuously," he told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

"This is just the beginning," Valtteri Bottas promised.