Williams Italian Grand Prix post race summary SYNOPSIS The AT&T Williams team had a productive Italian GP, the first of a pair of backto- back high speed, low downforce races, and with a strong sixth place and three points secured by Nico ...
Williams Italian Grand Prix post race summary
The AT&T Williams team had a productive Italian GP, the first of a pair of backto- back high speed, low downforce races, and with a strong sixth place and three points secured by Nico Rosberg, have not just further consolidated fifth place in the Constructor's Championship, but have continued the reduce the gap to fourth place.
With a pre-race test the week before the race, most preparation work on cooling, brakes, the finessing of mechanical set-up and allimportant decisions concerning wing settings had largely been taken, leaving Friday's two practice sessions for tyre evaluations and final preparations. The team was satisfied to finish P2 on Friday with two cars in the top ten, Nico setting the fifth fastest time of the final session of the day.
Overnight on Friday, Alex's car was fitted with a new engine, while Nico's Toyota engine, having endured a full race distance in Istanbul at full revs and in high ambient temperatures at around 380C, was facing another stern test with the high duty levels demanded by the Monza circuit.
On Saturday morning, both cars looked to have sufficient pace to graduate all the way through qualifying to Q3, but morning practice failed to decisively separate the tyres in terms of performance, with the team choosing to use the option tyre for its flying laps.
In the event, qualifying proved to be quite a test, with Nico encountering traffic on his first flying lap in Q1 and Alex losing time to an electronics set-up download that kept him in the garage. Nico managed to graduate to Q2 with his second flying lap and Alex managed to progress to the second session on the basis of a good first lap time. Into Q2, Nico progressed smoothly into the final session, while Alex finished the afternoon in P13.
Nico finished out Q3 in P8, carrying plenty of fuel for his planned one-stop strategy on race day. The team determined that two-stopping and the likely relative weight advantage would only have promoted him by a place on the grid in qualifying and subjected him to a strategy that would have been not just five seconds slower, but more compromised in terms of likely traffic and potential safety cars.
Come Sunday, Nico unfortunately was adjudged by the FIA to have held eighth place by missing part of the second chicane and was obliged to drop the position to Jenson Button. Being stuck behind the Honda compromised Nico's race strategy significantly, pushing him back into the runners behind and allowing the Renault of the two-stopping Kovalainen to open a gap ahead of him.
However, on lap 21, Nico got past Button and managed to make good the true car performance and advantage his strategy offered in nine laps of clear running, which effectively promoted him to P6 after the stops.
Nico also briefly held P5, although this was rather a reflection of a mistake during a BMW pitstop than on track performance and Robert Kubica, on fresh tyres, was able to reclaim fifth place, with Nico finishing in sixth and earning three points. Alex, by contrast, had a relatively uneventful race, finishing on par with his grid slot in P13.
TYRES & FUEL
Both cars were fuelled for one-stop strategies, with Alex running a longer first stint by seven laps. Both drivers also ran the same tyre choices, starting on the medium tyre and selecting the softer tyre for the run to the flag.
SYSTEMS & RELIABILITY
Both cars ran without any reliability issues, with Alex's temporary problem in Q1 resulting from a procedural problem as opposed to a component failure. With only two mechanical DNFs this year, the AT&T Williams team is currently the joint third most reliable race finisher this season behind McLaren & Renault.
The team will travel straight to Spa this week for Sunday's Belgium Grand Prix.
Sam Michael, Technical director:
"It was a workmanlike Italian Grand Prix and our consistency in collecting a small haul of points over the past four races is very welcome, and a good sign that we are developing the car in the right way. The reliability of the car is strong now and we are working hard for the final four races to maintain that. At the same time we are balancing resource between our 2008 car and performance for the FW29."