Sergey Sirotkin believes that Williams Martini Racing are taking positive steps towards improvement, they still need to find the root cause of their performance shortages.
Both Williams cars failed to make it out of the first Qualifying session in Bahrain, a regression on their Australian performance where Sirotkin’s team-mate Lance Stroll qualified in fifteenth. However, with Stroll unable to shift himself off the foot of the timing screens, Sirotkin out-qualified the Canadian for the first time this season, setting the eighteenth fastest time.
“I think we could have hoped for a bit more,” said a downbeat Sirotkin, who felt that he had extracted everything he could from the car on his first attempt.
“The first lap I did was a really good lap. I don’t think we could squeeze out any more from there.”
The Russian rookie did concede that his second and ultimate attempt was “messy” in its preparation to execution, starting his timed run in traffic and failing to get the brakes and tyres up to the optimal temperatures.
“The second lap with the second set of tyres was strongly affected by a very messy out-lap where I was fighting three or four cars for position,” he added.
“It was really messy preparation, I started the lap just behind a Sauber, and even then I knew the tyres and the brakes were not there. I almost managed to beat my previous lap-time, which shows we could potentially go another three or four tenths quicker, but I don’t know if that would have moved us any further ahead.”
Despite the poorer Qualifying showing, Sirotkin says that Williams are making progress in understanding how the car works, but admits that the FW41 is still “missing something”, – an element which he refrained from revealing.
“I think, compared to Melbourne, we actually did a better job,” he said.
“In some terms we maximised the performance of the car. We are moving ahead in one area, but we are missing something. I’m happy because we’re moving ahead and we are not making the same mistakes as we were in Melbourne.
“We didn’t see it in the results, but for sure the way we are working is better and personally I’m happy with that.”