The Williams team congratulated Pastor Maldonado on a ‘great effort’ after he secured their first top ten grid position of 2011 in Barcelona today.
Things did not go quite as well for Rubens Barrichello though. A gear box issue ended the Brazilian’s qualifying after just one run and he will start the race down in ninteenth tomorrow.
“That was a great effort by Pastor today to put Williams back into the top ten in qualifying,” said Sam Michael, the Williams technical director. “The next step is to get some points.
“We had a gearbox problem on Rubens' car so we’re looking into that now. He’s fairly low down the order but, taking into consideration our pace and the fact that he will have new tyres, he should be able to make good progress. Thanks to everyone at the factory for their efforts in getting the new rear wings out here. We still have a lot of work to keep progressing.”
Maldonado was very pleased at securing ninth place on the Spanish Grand Prix grid, especially after crashing out in first practice yesterday. “I am really happy for the team and all the guys,” said the Venezuelan rookie. “We've tried really hard to find a good balance all weekend.
“Yesterday's practice, particularly the first session, was really difficult for me. The car wasn't great so we took a bit of a risk and decided to run the new rear wing in qualifying. The car seems more competitive, but we still need to keep pushing and improve. I am happy today.”
Barrichello was, understandably, not as happy with his day: “I knew we had a gearbox problem as soon as I went out in Q1 as it felt strange,” he said. “I think there is a big positive in saving a set of tyres, which is one way of looking at it, but having seen where Pastor finished, we could also have had a good shot inside the top ten. I will be pushing to be there tomorrow.”