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Williams apologised to drivers

Laurence Edmondson at Sakhir
April 3, 2014 « Rosberg braced for Hamilton rift | Ferrari has to be 'more clever' - Alonso »
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Williams has apologised to its drivers for the misunderstanding regarding team orders at the Malaysian Grand Prix and insists there are no hard feelings in the team.

Felipe Massa was asked to move aside for Valtteri Bottas last weekend, but refused to follow the orders from the pit wall, saying they were "not correct". On Thursday in Bahrain he stood by his position and deputy team principal Claire Williams said her team had apologised to both drivers.

"We didn't handle the situation for either of our drivers particularly well, so of course we've apologised to our drivers," she said. It was only the right thing to do at the end of the day.

"I'm really pleased to say that, in all honesty, it is sorted. What happened in Malaysia wasn't the best, or a situation that was handled particularly well, but as a team we learned from our mistakes pretty quickly and we spent the past few days after Malaysia going through the grand prix in minute detail and looking at the mistakes we made and how we can rectify them to avoid a repeat in the future.

"We did that as a team - it was a team effort with the drivers and the engineers - and we went through it and everyone had their say and we've moved on. That's the most important thing, you can have an honest and open discussion and then you can put new procedures in place that allow you to move on so you don't make a repeat in the future. That's happened and everyone's happy and wants to get on now with this weekend."

Massa said he was grateful for the apology and he is ready to move on.

"I don't think it damaged my relationship. When I do something that is my mistake, I will be the first one to say sorry. And the team was the first one to say sorry as well.

"What happened on the last race was not correct. Everything was clear on the table, I put my ideas on the table with everybody inside the team and I think that's the most important thing. Going into details now, this and that, will not be the right thing. The right thing is to speak inside and I spoke.

"I have no problem to say what I did on the last race was for me the correct thing to do. For sure I'm a very professional driver, I always was and I will carry on being very professional, doing the best for my team. But doing the correct thing as well and doing the best for myself as well.

"We know that we need to do the best for the team all the time but definitely I race for myself as well and my career is definitely very important for me."

Bottas added: "I trust the team. They've all the data available and focusing on getting the maximum points from the two cars on track. In the end you are employed by the team and work for them, so for me it's really clear what to do. You want to do your best, but you always need to play by the rules."

Williams is confident both her drivers are now clearer on what will happen in the future.

"I'd rather it was called strategic decisions and instructions; to call it team orders implies a lot of negative connotations that are not applicable. At the end of the day we are a racing team that needs to score the maximum amount of points in the drivers' championship. Both drivers know that and understand it and those are the calls that we will make to make sure we gather the most amount of points.

"I won't go into the details of different situations, but at the end of the day the objective is to score the maximum amount of points and let our drivers race on the race track."

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