Spielberg (Austria): The Formula One Austrian Grand Prix has put Williams squarely back among the big boys, with teams like Ferrari and Red Bull now their target after years languishing in the bottom half of the constructors` standings.
The English team dominated qualifying ahead of the race, with Brazilian Felipe Massa taking his first pole since 2008, and teammate Valtteri Bottas contributing to a front-row lock-out on Sunday.
In the end, they could not keep up with Mercedes leaders Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, but everybody else was in their sights, Massa vowed. "The result today shows that we can compete with the other teams, we can compete with big teams, like Ferrari, like Red Bull," he told journalists after his fourth-place finish.
"(Against) Mercedes I think will be difficult, we don`t even have 100 points, they have 300 so we`re not fighting with Mercedes.
"But it shows that we are at a good level." With Bottas third -- landing his first career podium -- Williams jumped into fifth place in the constructors` standings with 85 points, ahead of McLaren.
Halfway through the season, the team already have more points than in any of the last four years.
"Red Bull are still a bit in front, but Ferrari are 13 points in front of us, Force India are two points in front of us. So it shows that we can put this team definitely in the top level," said Massa.
"Considering where the team was 12 months ago, to where we are today, everyone should be very proud of this result and enjoy this moment," Williams`s race engineer Rob Smedley added.
"I believe we got everything out of today that we could have done."
In the 2013 season, the team managed a mere five points to finish ninth in the table. "I`m just really thankful for the team. It`s been a long long way for us since last year," Bottas said after his podium finish, adding: "That was the best champagne I`ve ever tasted."
For Massa, this first Austrian Grand Prix in 11 years was crucial not just for the points gained but for the experience Williams will take away from it.
"I think we still can do a lot more than what we did so I think that`s important to use what we did today, use all the little problems, little mistakes, little things that happened (and must) not happen anymore and try to keep the competitive car in the next races as well."