Ninth place for Rubens Barrichello in Monaco secured Williams‘ first two points of 2011 but the team were left wondering what might have been after Pastor Maldonado crashed out with just five laps of the race remaining.
Many observers will lay the blame of Maldonado’s accident squarely with Lewis Hamilton, including the driver himself:
“The final result was not what we wanted but the rest of the race was good,” said Maldonado. “My pace was strong but after the re-start Hamilton tried a very ambitious manoeuvre at the first corner and that was the end of my race. I'm really disappointed not to come away with any points today.”
Barrichello said that his strategy was undone by an untimely safety car – also caused by Hamilton, incidentally – but is pleased to get a decent result in what has been a very difficult start to the season.
“With six laps to go, I thought tenth was the best result we were going to achieve today,” said the Brazilian. “I ended up ninth, but not in the way I would have liked to as it was at the expense of my teammate. We lost some really good points for the team so that is disappointing.
“I'm happy that I've broken my run of bad luck though. The safety car didn't help us as our one-stop strategy would have worked well had I not just done my pitstop before it was deployed. There are positives and negatives to take from today, the positive being we scored some points.”
Williams technical director Sam Michael also bemoaned the timing of the safety car periods, but congratulated Maldonado on a good weekend in Monte Carlo.
“It was a good result to get some points on the board,” said Michael. “It was close to being a lot more but that is the nature of Monte Carlo. Pastor has driven outstandingly all weekend, so it is a shame that his race ended in the barriers. The tyres were solid all afternoon but it became clear that it would be a two-stop race strategy for us. The safety cars both hurt us as well as we lost a lot of time with both drivers.
“On the positive side, we didn't have any reliability issues and we're looking to continue developing the car ahead of Canada.”