Williams laments power unit software issue in qualifying

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Belgium, Circuit de Spa-Francorchampsbe

The Williams F1 Team endured a troubled qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix, as a software glitch prevented its drivers to use full power of their Mercedes power units. The team believes this may be cost around 5 positions on the grid and a 20bhp difference during qualifying runs.

"Qualifying was disappointing for us", said Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering.

"We had a software issue with the power unit which meant that we weren’t able to run qualifying mode, so we lost lap time there. Without that we would have been around fifth position.

It unfortunately put us on the back foot in Q1, after we discovered it on our first run and had to react accordingly. Most of our efforts were then focused on trying to resolve the issue rather than making our car go quicker, so it’s somewhat ruined our qualifying.

Apart from that, the cars were reasonably well balanced. Going into the session we knew it was going to be tight with Force India, but we had a little bit of a margin on them so it’s a shame not to be ahead.

We’ve all got to pick ourselves up now, accept that these things are part of motor racing, and look forward to tomorrow. The long runs we were doing both yesterday and this morning were very encouraging. We just need to make sure we get everything right tomorrow and outscore those around us in the championship."

Valtteri Bottas eventually qualified 8th, benefiting from going out first in the final part of qualifying to complete a trouble free lap early on in the session.

Felipe Massa will start from 10th, as he locked up under braking for turn 1 when running on his only remaining set of super soft tyres.

"I gave it everything on my final lap, but I locked the front into turn one and lost a lot of time, so I’m not happy with that. If I had two sets of tyres in Q3 it would have helped me a lot, but that didn’t happen so we lost a few places. We will see what we can do tomorrow though. I was happy with the car, the balance and the laptimes in qualifying."