Williams had another difficult qualifying session today as Valtteri Bottas qualified 15th with Pastor Maldonado 17th for tomorrow’s Bahrain Grand Prix. The car however did look stronger on the longer runs, so the team is hopeful it can fight back during the race.
Pastor and Valtteri posted identical times of 1:34.425 in a closely fought Q1, but with Valtteri crossing the line earlier, he progressed into Q2 ahead of his teammate. Valtteri improved again in Q2 to finish 15th with a time of 1:34.105.
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: Following practice this morning, our long run pace was looking better against the competition so our focus this afternoon was to just get into Q2. We ran new option tyres in Q1 on both cars to give us the best chance, but unfortunately we didn’t quite manage this with Pastor, despite both drivers posting identical times. The times were extremely close, with Valtteri just 0.4 seconds off Q3, so there was a chance we could have achieved more. Now we need to look to tomorrow and concentrate on our long run performance, and getting the best strategy for the race.
Valtteri Bottas: I had a bit of traffic in Q1 so I was quite lucky to get through given that one or two tenths can be the difference between progressing to Q2 or not. I put a good lap together in Q2, the best lap I’ve driven here this weekend, so I’m pleased about that. I feel I got everything out of the car today but tomorrow will be a long race in these conditions, so I will be ready to challenge right from the start.
Pastor Maldonado: I have an extra set of tyres which is positive for tomorrow, and we are working together as a team to look at what we can do in the race. Qualifying 17th is a bit disappointing, but we are realistic with our targets at the moment. We are trying to do our best from the track and at the factory, and we are working to have a better qualifying performance soon.