The were mixed fortunes for the two Williams drivers in qualifying for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as Rubens Barrichello took seventh after a convincing drive but Nico Hulkenberg – who was on pole last week in Brazil – could only qualify fifteenth.
“It was a great qualifying, especially considering where we were yesterday,” said Barrichello, who was only fifteenth fastest after the two Friday practice sessions. “On Friday we were struggling a little, but we have improved the car in every aspect and I am just delighted with the outcome today. Seventh is better than I expected and I hope we can maintain this tomorrow. Of course tomorrow is another day, but my engineers and I have good momentum together this weekend, so I am very positive.”
Hulkenberg attributed his low grid position to the super-soft tyre that he used during Q2, saying that it gave his FW32 severe understeer. “To begin with, Rubens and I were quite evenly matched but I ended up in P15 while Rubens made it into the top ten,” said the German rookie, acknowledging that his qualifying position didn’t look particularly impressive when compared to his teammates.
“In Q1 everything was fine, with the prime tyre working well. We then selected the option for Q2 and everything changed. My car suddenly behaved very unexpectedly, I lost balance and grip and the car was just sliding around all over the place. It was very strange and we will be looking into it tonight. With a good start, we could gain some places and end up with a more positive result tomorrow.”
Patrick Head praised Barrichello for his excellent qualifying lap, and reminded us that the team are fighting hard to beat Force India into sixth place in the constructors’ championship – a position that Williams currently hold by just one point.
“It was a great qualifying from Rubens,” said the Director of Engineering. “Together with his engineer, he extracted the very best out of the car this afternoon and we'll be looking for good performance in the race.
“Nico had shown the potential needed to make it into Q3, but something caused understeer in the slow corners in his final set of tyres. Both drivers can run a good race tomorrow and our intention is to maintain position in the constructors' championship.”