Opening lap incidents ruin Turkish GP for Williams duo

by David Bean

Poor starts for the two Williams drivers left them unable to challenge for points in today’s Turkish Grand Prix, and the team depart Istanbul after finishing just fourteenth and seventeenth.

Rubens Barrichello, who only qualified fifteenth yesterday, had a mechanical problem which dropped him down to P20 in the early stages. The Brazilian driver fought hard throughout the race but could only finish four places away from any points, and a lap down from the leaders.

“I had a problem with the clutch at the start which is a shame because it's been fine all weekend so we will have to investigate that,” said Barrichello after the race.

“We pitted earlier than we had originally planned because our pace was better than the cars in front. Our stop was quite slow because we had a problem with the front wheel. Later on, I then had an issue with the throttle. Our overall race pace wasn't too bad but we need to resolve these issues that we are having.”

Nico Hulkenberg picked up a puncture on the opening lap, and the necessary pit stop that followed dropped the German down to P23. He eventually finished the race in the same position he started it: seventeenth.

“It hasn't been a good weekend for us and our race pace wasn't good enough today,” said Hulkenberg. “I also had an incident on the first lap which meant I had to pit early. We have to keep working hard to find more performance.”

Williams technical director Sam Michael explained that the team will have to focus on both qualifying and race performance to avoid days like this in the future:

“We finished roughly where we qualified today. Rubens had a problem with anti-stall off the start, it wasn’t a driver issue. Shortly after his pitstop, he then had a throttle control problem which dropped him back down the order again. The problem reduced so he was able to continue the race, but we’ll be stripping the car down to identify what caused it.

“Nico came together with another car on the opening lap which damaged his front wheel. That forced him into a premature pitstop, so the rest of his race was consumed with tyre management.

“For the forthcoming events, our objective will be achieving better qualifying and race performance.”

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