Williams has been pushing hard to improve the performance of the FW35 around the Sepang International Circuit and made some steps forward in FP3. However the team was unable get reap the benefits in today qualifying as Pastor Maldonado qualified 16th with Valtteri Bottas 18th
In the fast-changing weather conditions, Pastor was unable to complete his run on dry tyres before the rain arrived during Q2. Valtteri missed out on Q2 by just 0.3 seconds as he was unable to improve his lap time after switching onto the medium compound tyre during Q1.
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: We feel we’ve made some small steps forward which we were able to show in FP3 this morning. However, we were unable to capitalise on this during qualifying with Valtteri narrowly missing out on a place in Q2 and finishing in 18th. Pastor made it through, but we were then caught out by the rain which came earlier than predicted and so he was unable to set a time.
Pastor Maldonado, FW35-02 RS27-5444/2: "We were unlucky with the timing of the rain in Q2 which meant we were forced to abort the lap. The car felt better on track and there was a chance we could have been fighting to get into Q3. We still have work to do to improve the car and close the gap, but we will work hard now to prepare for the race tomorrow."
Valtteri Bottas, FW35-01 RS27-5421/2: "It was disappointing not to get through into Q2 today, especially after we felt the car had improved since last week. The prime tyre run felt good with the car responding well. We expected a much bigger gain from the medium compound but we didn’t get any extra grip. The lap times were tight at the end so we just missed out on Q2, but our long-run pace will mean we will be aiming to gain some places from our grid position tomorrow."