Overheating key to Williams struggles

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The Australian Grand Prix turned out to be one to forget for Williams. While Lance Stroll made it to the finish without any chance for points, team mate Sergei Sirotkin was struck by bad luck as a plastic bag jammed up his rear brakes to force an early retirement.

"Very early in the race, Sergey had a failure of the rear brakes", stated Paddy Lowe, Williams Chief Technical Officer.

"Our provisional analysis is that a plastic bag has been collected on the circuit, completely blocking the brake cooling, so that the right rear corner caught fire and eventually failed the hydraulics circuit. His brake pedal went to the floor and he had to go down the escape lane. That was the end of his race which is very unfortunate because it was his first F1 race and what he really needed to do was get some distance behind him so he could come back for the second event with race experience our objective, which we didn’t achieve for him today."

Though this could be dismissed as bad luck, the problems that Lance Stroll revealed after the race were perhaps somewhat more worrisome.

"We had overheating issues. Major major overheating issues", said Lance Stroll.

"This was caused by an error from the team on Friday. I had no modes on the engine today, that's why Ocon got me on the first lap. Also, the usual additional power modes we use on the restart and so on, I had none of that today. We are just basically trying to get the car to the end of the race instead of racing. There was a lot going on today with big issues that cost us a lot of race time. I hope we can find the solution before Bahrain."

The team confirmed that due to managing temperatures, Stroll had to back out of several attempts to get close to Ocon, forcing him to stay behind and make sure the car got to the end.

On Friday, at the end of practice, Lance's car got too close to the power unit limits doing practice starts, forcing the team to stop the car on preserve the engine. This has had its repercussions on the entire race weekend for the Canadian, and it remains to be seen if a solution is possible without switching power units altogether.