Rob Smedley says Felipe Massa found the perfect way to end his Formula One career by holding off Fernando Alonso for ninth in Abu Dhabi.
Massa kept former Ferrari teammate Alonso at bay at the Yas Marina bay at what was the 250th and final start of his career. The pair's tenure at Ferrari is best remembered for the 2010 German Grand Prix, when then-race engineer Smedley gave Massa the veiled team order "Fernando is faster than you" so he would let the Spaniard past.
Smedley, who moved with Massa to Williams in 2014, was happy to see his friend bow out with a determined drive.
"It was a tough race, as we expected it to be," Smedley said. "Unfortunately, Valtteri [Bottas] went out with a rear suspension failure so we will look into that. Felipe drove a really good race in the car that he had and it was a fitting end to his career. Fernando Alonso gambled on a different tyre strategy but Felipe was able to hold him off until the end and finished ninth. It's not where we really want to be but it was a good job by all the guys."
While the dramatic title finale was unfolding at the front, deputy team boss Claire Williams admits her garage was preoccupied with Alonso's lap times as he cut the gap to Massa in the closing stages.
"That wasn't good, when we saw the margins dropping between him and Alonso," Williams laughed in her post-race media session. "It was like, 'I hope Alonso's nice to him', because I know he went over to hug him before the race and wish him well. I know drivers don't behave like this but I just hoped, 'just don't do that to him on his last race', it's not going to make any impact on anybody so let him take ninth!"