After demonstrating pace on track and confident weather management from the pitwall on Saturday, race day did not run so smoothly for the AT&T Williams team. Rubens was an early casualty on the opening lap; as the sole top ten runner starting the...
After demonstrating pace on track and confident weather management from the pitwall on Saturday, race day did not run so smoothly for the AT&T Williams team. Rubens was an early casualty on the opening lap; as the sole top ten runner starting the race on the harder prime tyre, he hit a wet patch of track under braking into turn 18, colliding with Alonso's Ferrari and retired early with car damage from his 300th race. Team-mate Nico Hulkenberg took up the mantle, but before the first pitstop window, lost full throttle control which triggered a series of difficult pitstops, challenging car control in changeable weather and constant revisions to tyre plans on the pitwall. Despite a number of considered gambles to retrieve position, he finished a difficult day in P14.
Pretty early on in the race I had a throttle control problem which made the car very difficult to handle, so we made an unscheduled stop, but the engine died in the box and had to be re-started. As a result I dropped position and then had to cope in the rain without the full engine control, which caused some spins. We took some tyre gambles at the end to try and recover something.
Despite my experience, it was very difficult to know how wet the track was on the opening lap, but it was fully wet when I came into Blanchimont. I was closing the door on Rosberg and when I touched the brakes, even though it was quite early, it wasn't sufficient to stop the car. The car went straight on into Alonso, for which I'm sorry. It's also sad for the team. We've had such a positive weekend that a good result would have been a nice conclusion. Despite not having a good outcome in my 300th race, I'm confident we will go well in the 301st!
Sam Michael, Technical Director:
Today was not a good day with Rubens out on the first lap and Nico had a control system problem that compromised the driveability and caused the engine to cut in his pitstop. So looking forward, our pace is improving and we will perform better in the forthcoming races.