Williams had another lacklustre qualifying result in China earlier today as Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado qualified fifteenth and seventeenth respectively, but team feel that they have made good progress since last weekend in Malaysia.
“Although not reflected in our result this afternoon, the qualifying pace of the FW33 has improved,” explains technical director Sam Michael. “After testing the new exhaust system throughout practice, we decided we needed more understanding of it before using it in the race. We therefore reverted back to the standard exhaust system on Rubens' car. Our target for tomorrow is reliability and to be in a position to fight for points.”
A red flag in qualifying, caused by Renault driver Vitaly Petrov, meant that there were about a dozen cars trying to set a flying lap time in the last two minutes of Q2. As Barrichello explains, as everybody jostled for track position and clear air, his lap time from heavily compromised.
“I was happy with Q1 but then we had the rush hour!” he said. “On the restart, Sutil tried to overtake me going into the first corner which spoiled both of our laps. We've made progress since Malaysia so I'm looking for points.”
Team-mate Maldonado had a similar experience and feels that, without the red flag, he could have been significantly higher up the grid. “I'm a bit disappointed by the red flag because the lap I was on at the time was looking good.” the Venezuelan said. “We could have fought for a place in the top ten today so it looks like we've made some improvements with the car. We need to keep working and concentrate our minds for tomorrow. I'm looking for some points.”