Replacing Valtteri Bottas with Felipe Massa means making a compromise on speed, but the experience the Brazilian brings is worth it, according to deputy team principal Claire Williams. Bottas regularly out qualified Massa throughout their time as team-mates, meaning the switch in the Williams driver line up isn’t swapping like for like. But Williams argued Massa was the “ideal candidate” after Bottas switched to Mercedes. “We have Lance Stroll joining us this year. He’s a rookie. We needed someone in the second car that has the experience,” Williams told BBC Radio 5 Live. “Felipe, having only just left the team, was absolutely the right choice for us.” Williams’ relationship with sponsors Martini mean partnering Stroll with another young driver was an unlikely option, but Massa’s return to F1 was about more than just pleasing sponsors. “Having that experience in the cockpit was the most important thing,” Williams said. “You talk about where Valtteri was last year and the ratios on qualifying and being three tenths quicker – it’s three tenths. And I’d rather have that experience in the cockpit than putting another rookie in there who you don’t quite know what they’re going to do.” Keeping Bottas at the team – and keeping his experience and speed – would have been the preferred option but both Williams and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the smaller team left the negotiations strong. “We would never have made the decision to let Bottas go unless the terms for us were particularly favourable and meant that we came out of it in a strong position,” Williams said. “Claire is tough in negotiations and it wasn’t always obvious for us that we would get Valtteri,” Wolff said. “We understood that it would be a compromise for Claire to let him go and we found a solution that helps Williams to continue to develop its capabilities and resources and strengthen the team mid-term and long-term.” Neither Williams nor Wolff confirmed what Williams received for letting Bottas out of his contract. For more Formula One news and discussions head over to the RaceDepartment Formula One sub forum and join in with your fellow community members. Do you think Williams have made the right decision? Is Massa's experience enough to make up for the lack of speed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!