Although both drivers had been braced for a difficult time because of the low-speed weaknesses of their car, they think the situation was exacerbated by the difficulties of getting the new more conservative super soft in to the right operating window.
Bottas said: “We knew that this wouldn’t be the best track for us but we didn’t expect it to be this difficult. We tried plenty of things with the tyres this weekend and still we are struggling. We already managed to get the bulk temps and the tyre pressures that we think are ideal, but we are struggling to put enough energy into the surface of the tyre to create enough tyre surface temps.
“Plus I had traffic in Q1 in the first couple of laps, which meant the surface temps dropped too low and I had one timed lap. I thought the lap was good compared to the grip I had available, but just slow. So we were struggling with overall grip.”
Worst track of the year
Massa added: “Maybe it is a lack of many things. For sure it is not the right track for our car. The way our car behaves, you have so many things on this track that works against us.
“For sure it was not a good day but even Thursday was not a great day. So, I think we are just struggling. That is it.
“I expect to be maybe the worst track for us and it is not different from what I expect. Maybe I didn’t expect to qualify 14th (he moves up two places due to rival grid penalties), I expected to be maybe a bit more competitive. Anyway I expect 100% to be the most difficult track for us and it is.”
Race will deliver more answers
Williams performance chief Rob Smedley thinks that the team needs to come away from Monaco with a better understanding of why it has suffered from such a severe lack of grip.
“We do generate downforce in high speed corners because we go around high speed corners quickly, whereas in low speed corners we know that we have a deficit which we are working on,” he said.
“Coming here we didn’t think it was going to be our best circuit but we thought it would be better than it has been up to now. But there is a simple fact that we are just not generating enough grip, not generating grip in the tyres.
“We have put the tyres, I would say, in the right working range in terms of temperatures and we have been through various temperature ranges to see if it would bring us more performance or change anything, and it is something that we are going to have to go away and understand.
“When we put more fuel in for the race it might tell us something. It was a similar situation that we had last year and it is not an easy problem to solve. The good thing is it is one race out of 19.”