Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe does not believe the 15th and 16th places scored by their drivers in qualifying for the British GP reflects the true pace of their cars, but was still uncertain as to why Felipe Massa could not trouble the top ten in the second part of qualifying.
Weather played its part in the Q1 proceedings at Silverstone, the variable conditions having caused enough havoc with tyre choices for Fernando Alonso to go fastest by 1.3 seconds, which Lowe attributed to Lance Stroll‘s downfall in the opening session.
“It was a very tricky session for all the teams with the uncertain weather,” he commented. “We started Q1 on the supersofts, but it was immediately clear that there wasn’t enough grip and we went to the intermediates.
“After the session was briefly red flagged we went out on the intermediates again and Felipe set a reasonably safe time. Lance was just in, but was dramatically knocked out by Alonso’s lap on the supersofts.
“It was Lance’s first wet qualifying in a Formula One car, so it was a tricky learning curve for him.”
With only one car remaining in the second session, Williams hedged their bets on Massa to carry them into the final qualifying shootout, but after being eliminated for Q2 were left searching for answers as to why their practice pace failed to materialise at the most crucial moment.
“We ran three sets of supersofts with Felipe in Q2, as conditions became virtually dry. For some reason we weren’t able to show the pace we’ve seen throughout the weekend so far, so unfortunately, he was knocked out.”
The Grove-based outfit are faced with the unenvious challenge of starting from near the back of the grid in their home race, but Lowe hopes the stronger pace demonstrated in practice will help carry them up the field as the race progresses tomorrow.
“We are all hugely disappointed as the strong pace of the car isn’t reflected in this grid today, but the car should be good tomorrow, and we’ll see what we can do from 15th and 16th.”