Williams Buoyed by Improved Qualifying Performance in Istanbul

by David Bean

Williams failed to get either car into Q3 today in Turkish Grand Prix qualifying, but they did show an improvement in pace as Rubens Barrichello qualified eleventh and Pastor Maldonado managed fourteenth.

“We’re heading in the right direction, thanks to a lot of hard work in the factory,” said outgoing Technical Director Sam Michael. “Rubens starts the race in P11, and with new tyres, and Pastor in P14. The day wasn’t without issue, however, as we had to revert to the standard rear wing on both cars after signs of aerodynamic separation on the new version in practice. That cost us some top speed. In addition, Pastor's KERS wasn't working, which lost him a couple of places on the grid. These are not excuses but rather that with these issues resolved, we have cause for optimism. Our target now is to get both cars in the points.”

Barrichello was happy with his own personal efforts today, noting that he is the highest place runner able to start the race on fresh tyres tomorrow. “After all the work we have done this weekend at the factory and trackside, I have to always put a great lap together in qualifying and I'm very happy with my last lap,” said the Brazilian. “Unfortunately though, we just ended up outside the top ten, which is not that penalising with the tyre situation. We also weren't running the new rear wing which was one of our upgrades for this race so it was a good qualifying session for us to finish 11th despite that.”

Maldonado rates this qualifying session has one of the best in his fledgling F1 career, and is optimistic for a good result come race day. “That's the happiest I've felt after a qualifying session this season,” he said. “The new parts the team have worked really hard to deliver to this race have definitely improved the car. It feels quicker and easier to drive so our efforts have paid off.

“Because of a problem, I haven't run KERS all weekend. If it was working in qualifying, we would have been three tenths quicker. Anyway, we need to focus on tomorrow now. It will be a difficult race and will probably be very tight, but I am confident that we can get a good result.”

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