Pastor Maldonado caused Williams a bit of a headache in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix this weekend but recovered to qualify fourteenth in Monza, one place behind team-mate Rubens Barrichello.
The Venezuelan lost the back end of his car as he went through Parabolica and crashed into the barrier. However, after a change of front-wing, Maldonado was back out on track, made it into Q2, and scored a result that shows a decent improvement on Williams‘ practice performance yesterday.
“It was difficult for everyone in the team today,” said Maldonado. “The mechanics did a great job to fix my car in time for me to get out in Q1 [after a KERS problem in FP3]. I then had a big moment on the first lap. The tyres weren't ready so maybe I was a little too optimistic with the rear wing and I lost the car and touched the barrier. There wasn't too much damage, mainly the front wing which we were able to change. I think we are more competitive today and the team did a great job overall with Rubens in 13th as well, so now we are looking forward to the race.”
Barrichello, who did not sound at all happy after Friday practice, said that the result today was better than expected. “All in all it has been a difficult weekend in terms of performance for us, and although we would be happier further up the order, we've done better today than we thought,” said the Brazilian. “Starting 13th and 14th gives us hope that we can score points, so we will keep thinking positive and do our best tomorrow.”
Williams technical director Sam Michael explained that the cars are actually set-up for the race, rather than factoring in any compromise for qualifying. He also points out that Maldonado completed his flying lap in Q2 with a car that was still damaged from the accident in Parabolica.
“Although we improved our pace from Friday, unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get into the top ten today,” he said. “However, all of our set-up is biased towards the race after we realised that we may struggle in qualifying to get the most out of the car. Rubens had an uneventful session, unlike Pastor.
“After a late start due to a KERS fault during morning practice, Pastor went off the track at the exit of Parabolica. This caused a lot of bodywork damage to his car that we could not fix until after the session, so his laptimes were decent considering that. They should both have good race pace tomorrow. Well done also to all the mechanics in the garage who worked flat out to get Pastor's car out on time after the KERS problem.”