AT&T Williams' pair had a reasonable day at the office today in terms of qualifying positions but Q2 proved more troublesome for the pair. A red flag with six minutes remaining ultimately compromised both drivers' final attempts at a quick time with Pastor Maldonado and Lewis Hamilton dicing into the last corner and having an incident. At the chequered flag, Rubens just bettered Pastor's time to claim 14th on the grid, with Pastor 16th. He was later dropped down to 21st following a five place grid penalty.
Sam Michael, Technical Director believes that the red flag was the source of their problems during the session, but will look forward to the race. “Both drivers made it easily through Q1. We were looking good for getting through to the top ten in Q2, but the red flag compromised our programme completely. With so much traffic at the re-start, we didn’t get a clear lap after that. It was the same conditions for everyone through and we will concentrate on the race now.”
Rubens Barrichello had fun during qualifying sessions today, pleasing to hear from a driver that has been so unlucky this season but he remains as optimistic as ever. “Today was one of those qualifying session that I enjoy very much. We have a new package for this race but the car is still not as fast as we would wish. Unfortunately I had traffic all the way through which is a shame as if it wasn't for that, I'm really sure we could have gone into Q3.”
Maldonado was the naughty driver of the sessions causing Lewis Hamilton to pull out his lifetime membership to the stewards. Maldonado received a penalty and Hamilton a reprimand. At the time of this quotation Maldonado had not visited the stewards. “It was a difficult qualifying because of the changing conditions and I had some problems with the balance because of that, especially during Q1. I was expecting a bit more in Q2 and thought we'd make it through to Q3 but I had traffic in my final lap which cost me a quicker time. This race is a long one and I think our pace is better here so we will see. About what happened with Lewis. He slowed down a lot at the end of the session, so I tried to go past him. I then felt contact at the back of my car. I don't really know what happened. It was a difficult moment.”