Pastor Maldonado feels he has a competitive package underneath him this weekend after going ninth quickest on Friday in Abu Dhabi. The Williams driver was strong in both sessions although he thinks the FW34 will be stronger in race trim than in qualifying.
“Today was much better as everything came together and I am happy for that. Our long run pace looks quick again, qualifying pace less so but I think we are still looking good when compared to what everyone else was doing today. Qualifying will be important here as well as it’s difficult to overtake. I like this track though and we are looking competitive.”
Teammate Bruno Senna was close behind in eleventh and has his eyes on Q3 tomorrow despite a few gremlins in the car this evening.
“It was a tough day today. Tyre degradation was quite high and we had a few braking issues which made it difficult to read what the car was doing. However, we have a lot of data from today to work through ahead of tomorrow. Qualifying in the top ten is possible, as we’ve seen the pace in Pastor’s car, so we’ll be working hard tonight to make further improvements tomorrow.”
Valtteri Bottas continued his Friday morning work for the team and excelled once again, finishing the opening session in ninth place, and was especially happy to have been so close to Maldonado’s pace.
“I know this track well which made things much easier today as I could immediately get on with my job. After the first run I knew how the car should feel and we were also able to continue some tests from India to gather even more data. Pastor went a little quicker in his final run in FP1, but before that we had identical times so it is good to know I am on the pace, although I still think I could have done more. I like this circuit and the atmosphere in the paddock, and driving on the track underneath the hotel is quite unique.”