Today’s inaugural qualifying of the 2011 season concluded in Q2 for both AT&T Williams drivers. In the first qualifying session of his Formula One career, Pastor Maldonado eased through Q1 and was lapping consistently until yellow flags impeded the first of two quick laps in Q2. Pastor’s last opportunity to set a fast time was then aborted due to a flat spot on his tyre. A final lap time of 1:26.768 puts Pastor in P15. Rubens was unable to convert strong form shown in practice into a competitive grid position as he lost control of his FW33 on his first lap in Q2 leaving him beached in the gravel at turn 3. With no Q2 time set, Rubens will start tomorrow’s race in P17.
Sam Michael, Technical Director:
We’ve had a troublesome day and although we have to improve the end result does not reflect our true pace. With Pastor’s spin and the oil leak on Rubens’ gearbox, the mileage we were able to cover in practice was considerably restricted and caused us to be conservative with some of our set-up choices for the race. We had another off in qualifying, this time with Rubens, but Pastor kept his head down and is now looking ahead to a solid race. Tomorrow’s focus is firmly on scoring points with both cars. It will also be interesting to see the moveable rear wing working as intended and delivering some exciting overtaking!
I made it through Q1 fine and everything was going well. On the first set of tyres in Q2, I had two yellow flags; with the second set, I had a big flat spot and had to abort the run. The session was exciting though! We need to improve a bit, but overall the car is good and I feel optimistic. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I really think points are possible.
Today was unfortunate. I made a mistake, went wide and spun. We have to wait and see what our pace is, but it was quicker than we thought it would be. On another positive note, we’ve saved our tyres for tomorrow which could be important.