Smedley: Williams mustn't focus on just one rival

© XPB 

Williams F1's head of performance engineering Rob Smedley has warned against concentrating too closely on one rival in the constructors championship, saying it would be "a huge mistake" to focus purely on the battle with Force India over fourth place in the standings.

""You've got to go out and get the absolute best result possible and not focus on any competitor, but focus on all the competitors," he insisted.

"You make a huge mistake when you start to concentrate on one single competitor," he told Autosport magazine. "You've got to be absolutely aware of what everybody's doing and ensure that you get the best result possible."

Force India was able to move back in front in the championship by a single point after Singapore, with Smedley admitting that last week's race had been a disappointment with Valtteri Bottas retiring and Felipe Massa finishing outside the points.

"We chose to go on a three-stop strategy [for Felipe] to give us a bigger tyre delta at the end, but throughout the pitstops and through the traffic we just seemed to be on the back foot.

"Looking at the two-stop, he probably would have been sat behind Kvyat, even behind Magnussen.

"We weren't really great on all sides really," he added. "Starting from 11th, with a car that wasn't particularly quick, with all the traffic problems that you usually get, it was difficult that we were ever going to get points really."

As for Bottas, a long delay in the pits dealing with an issue with his seat belt took him out of the running, even before the team opted to retire him on lap 36.

"He reported to us that his seat belt had come undone so we boxed him immediately that lap and did it up. You can see it was a good 30 seconds or something like that.

"After that it was pretty much a case of pointless being out there. It was just wasting petrol and tyres," he added. "It didn't cook the engine, there was no problems like that - if we'd had problems like that we'd just have turned it off and retired on the spot.

"It was just that we were in last position in a place that you can't pass, well behind the penultimate, so it was just a bit of a waste from there on in so we just saved the engine."

Even so, Smedley felt that the team had escaped without too much harm done to its season as a whole.

"For a circuit like this, and in terms of where we are in the championship, the damage has been limited. The teams around us didn’t get the points they could have done so we’ve been quite lucky.

"I think they're going to be much more disappointed than us. It was a great track for them to make inroads on us, like we did in Monza to them."

Smedley predicted that the remaining circuits in 2016 could work in Williams' favour, highlighting the US and Brazil as particular promising events.

"I think it will be fairly evenly-matched now, maybe a little bit in our favour going into the last races."

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