Williams driver Valtteri Bottas missed out on his first Formula One points finish by 1.486 seconds in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix. His team mate Pastor Maldonado had a messy race and retired with a KERS issue.
A rain shower shortly before the start meant both drivers started on intermediate tyres, with both switching to medium tyres for the remainder of the race as the compound proved more favourable.
Valtteri fought his way from the back of the field to finish P11 after running wide in the slippery conditions on lap one. Pastor Maldonado’s race ended early end as he was forced to stop the car for precautionary reasons due to a KERS problem which the team are now investigating.
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: After running wide on the first lap, Valtteri drove a great race to fight back through the field and finish just outside the points. We ran different strategies with both cars with Pastor needing to pit early for a new nose after running wide on lap 15. We then had a KERS problem on his car which meant he had to stop out on track as a precaution. The team are now investigating this. Overall we feel our performance has improved since Melbourne, but we still have work to do.
Valtteri Bottas, 11th: I had a good start but then I drove off the dry line racing van der Garde and ran wide dropping to the back of the field. Once the track started to dry I was able to start overtaking a few cars and I had a good, clean race. The team did a great job with the strategy and with a few more laps I could have started attacking for a championship point. We maximised what we had today but I trust in the team that we can now continue working together to improve.
Pastor Maldonado, DNF: The intermediate tyres made the start of the race very difficult as it was very slippery, particularly in the first sector. We had a good strategy to pit earlier in the race and opt for the dry tyres. I made a small mistake on braking into Turn 11 which forced me to run wide and damage the front wing slightly. After a new set of tyres, the pace in the second stint was good, but unfortunately my race ended early after a KERS problem forced us to retire the car. We will now work hard to prepare as best we can for the next two flyaway races.
Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 team support leader: Valtteri did a good job to get 11th after the start and was very close to getting a point. Unfortunately Pastor retired but there does not appear to be any damage to the engine. There is a bit of a gap now until China so we’ll look at the bigger picture and come back stronger.