Williams did not fare well in Magny-Cours today during qualifying for Sunday’s French Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg made the cut into Q2, but was unable to convert into Q3 and closed his afternoon in P15. With a ten-place penalty, Nico will line up on the last row of the grid. Compromised by traffic on his last run, Kazuki Nakajima was forced out at the end of Q3 and will start tomorrow’s race in P16.
I knew it was going to be slightly hard for us here, but to be so far off the pace is quite surprising. If everything had gone perfectly, I may have been in P14, but that’s not good enough. We had to compromise our pace this afternoon because of the grid penalty, but that should only have cost us a tenth, not this much. We’ve had a good car in the last two races, and have been running in the top six, but there are some tracks, such as Magny-Cours, that don’t seem to suit our car very well. We started to address this problem at the last test, but it’s going to take some time to resolve it. Getting a decent result from P15 would be difficult enough but, with the ten-place penalty, it’s going to be even harder. That’s just how it is, though, and we need to work out how we’re going to play it.
Being knocked out in Q1 is really disappointing, but there was so much traffic during my last flying lap. Everyone was so close to each other out there and that basically compromised my lap and prevented me from doing any better today. If that situation happens when it’s your last chance to set a quick time, it’s over. It’s now going to be a really tough race for me because it’s so hard to overtake round this track, but I will do my best and really try to get something out of it for the team.
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering:
A very disappointing qualifying for us today. It’s obvious that the car isn’t strong here, but equally we didn’t get the best out of it this afternoon as we were setting better times in practice with more fuel on board. Hopefully we can pull something out of this tomorrow, but, ultimately, we need to raise the car’s performance.