Despite starting tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix from the back of the grid, Williams are pleased with how the team pushed to
improve the performance of the FW35 around the Sepang International Circuit.
Pastor Maldonado qualified in sixteenth place while Valtteri Bottas was knocked out in Q1.
“We feel we’ve made some small steps forward which we were able to show in FP3 this morning”, said technical director Mike Coughlan. However, we were unable to capitalise on this during qualifying with Valtteri narrowly missing out on a place in Q2 and finishing in 18th. Pastor made it through, but we were then caught out by the rain which came earlier than predicted and so he was unable to set a time,”
Valtteri Bottas missed out on Q2 by just 0.3 seconds and qualified 18th. He was unable to improve his lap time after switching onto the medium compound tyre during Q1: “It was disappointing not to get through into Q2 today, especially after we felt the car had improved since last week. The prime tyre run felt good with the car responding well. We expected a much bigger gain from the medium compound but we didn’t get any extra grip. The lap times were tight at the end so we just missed out on Q2, but our long-run pace will mean we will be aiming to gain some places from our grid position tomorrow.”
Team-mate Maldonado made it to Q2 but was unable to complete his run on dry tyres before the rain started. “We were unlucky with the timing of the rain in Q2 which meant we were forced to abort the lap. The car felt better on track and there was a chance we could have been fighting to get into Q3. We still have work to do to improve the car and close the gap, but we will work hard now to prepare for the race tomorrow,” Maldonado said.