Williams woes continue in Bahrain qualifying

by Vince Pettit

Williams Racing continued their uphill struggle in the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship as they finished at the bottom of qualifying ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix.

While Charles Leclerc set a scorching lap time of 1:27.866 at the front of the pack, George Russell and Robert Kubica could only record times that were nearly four seconds off of pace.

Russell led the way for the former champions with a time of 1:31.759 as he struggled to make up the gap to the eighteenth placed Lance Stroll, 1.5 seconds ahead.

“It was a very difficult session, for whatever reason the car wasn’t handling anywhere near as great as it was yesterday in Free Practice 2.” said the disappointed Russell.

“My laps were really messy and far from the potential of the car, which is a shame. We know we are not fighting in the mid-pack but we still need to optimise what we have, and today we didn’t do that.

Team-mate Kubica had similar struggles finishing four-hundredths of a second off of the Brit to end his second qualifying session since his Formula 1 comeback last on the grid.

“It was a reasonable session.” said the Polish driver. “It is a difficult situation and we have a few things to check as again, we could have bettered some things.

Along with struggling with the handling of the car, Kubica also had his last lap spoiled when the camera on the nose of the car fell off.

“It is currently more about understanding the things we need to do in order to improve, and to be ready when the car improves so in the future we can extract the maximum from it.”

Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer explained the issues that the team faced, “Unusually for this time of the year in Bahrain we had quite a lot of overnight rain which made Free Practice 3 even more difficult than we thought it would be.

It was very hot, similar to Free Practice 1 on Friday, but we were able to undertake a few tests in these relatively poor track conditions which were quite positive.

“Moving onto qualifying we were able to use the work we did in Free Practice 2 yesterday in order to set the car up for the session this evening.

“The two drivers drove well and although the car is still a little way of the pace they are pushing as best they can, with the two cars setting very similar laptimes.

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