Williams come away from Japan with just two points, failing to capitalise on Force India‘s failure to get either of their cars to the end of the grand prix.
The Grove-based team have now cut the deficit to Force India – who they are aiming to beat into sixth place in the constructors’ championship – to just two points with Rubens Barrichello‘s ninth place finish at Suzuka.
However, Nico Hulkenberg failed to reach even the first corner of the grand prix after a collision with Renault‘s Vitaly Petrov off the starting grid.
Barrichello qualified seventh, and was clearly hoping to finish higher. He explains why this was not possible: “My car was skating all over the track this afternoon,” said the Brazilian. “I don't know why and, to make matters worse, I had quite a lot of vibration. We managed to salvage some points today, but I really thought we were going to finish higher up.”
Hulkenberg’s collision with Petrov will be looked at by the stewards after the grand prix. The German says that it was disappointing way to end the race, especially after qualifying ninth. “I had a bad start and I didn't get off the line at all,” said Hulkenberg, trying to explain his collision. “I then saw Petrov coming up behind me. He touched my front right wheel and that was it. You never want to finish a race that early, but today it happened and it was unfortunate for us both. The team are doing a really good job developing the car and that showed in our qualifying performance so it was a shame to finish that early.”
Technical director Sam Michael can’t currently explain why the team’s race pace was so poor compared to qualifying, and suggests that Hulkenberg’s accident was Petrov’s fault.