Williams disappointed with qualifying but still predict a strong race


The Williams team will start 11th and 13th on the grid in Bahrain, a result just short of the teams ambitions of making it into the pole position shoot-out.

Rubens Barrichello is the highest placed runner not to have to start the race using the set of tyres that he completed his fastest lap with, which could prove a big advantage in the early stages tomorrow.

The Brazilian explained that lack of running yesterday may have been the reason he missed out on Q3, and is settling in well with his new team. “I think Williams did well today, not as well as any of us would wish, but we have had some minor problems and we lost some running time yesterday. This meant we were playing catch up this morning. But our general direction is good, we have a good understanding in the garage and we have real belief in the team. So we almost made it to final qualifying – I was just a little bit behind Jenson, so it was not so bad and of course I have some new tyres for tomorrow, which will be helpful.”

Teammate Nico Hulkenberg, who was competing in his first ever F1 qualifying session, felt he could have done better. “I had hoped to achieve more in my first qualifying session, but we didn't get the car quite perfect and I didn't manage to put the good lap together. This combination is very costly as you would expect in Formula One and we didn't therefore make it into Q3. It is probably not worth speculating too much on the race tomorrow, the only thing I can say with certainty is that it will be tough for everyone and I believe the key thing will be managing our tyres well.”

Sam Michael, the Williams technical director, also thought that the team hadn’t performed to its full potential in qualifying but is hoping for a strong points finish in the race. “We thought we should be able to get through to Q3, but it wasn’t to happen today. Rubens did well to make up some ground after practice and it was Nico’s first Formula One qualifying session. Our focus is now on the race, using our normally competitive starts to make position on the first lap and then race hard for points. Thank you also to our mechanics who’ve put in some really hard hours trackside over the last three days.”