Maldonado at Williams' garage.
May 21 (F1plus Team).- Pastor Maldonado’s debut qualifying at the Circuit de Catalunya delivered some more positive news for Williams, as he drove the FW33 into the top ten for the first time this season.
While Pastor will line up on tomorrow’s grid in P9, Rubens Barrichello had a more frustrating session. A gearbox issue ended Rubens’ afternoon after just one run in Q3 leaving him in P19, but with a haul of fresh tyres for the race.
Overall, it was encouraging session for the desperate for results Williams team. At times, it was said that the car had the speed and it was supposed to perform well, but a streak of bad luck and not really good finishes did not offer a chance to evaluate better the car and its driver's potential.
The speed of car was noticeable and Maldonado registered the 3rd best time in the first round. Even though and most probably, the big teams were making few adjustments; it was a good indicator since that had not happened before.
Sam Michael, Technical Director:
That was a great effort by Pastor today to put Williams back into the top ten in qualifying. The next step is to get some points. We had a gearbox problem on Rubens’ car so we're looking into that now. He's fairly low down the order but, taking into consideration our pace and the fact that he will have new tyres, he should be able to make good progress. Thanks to everyone at the factory for their efforts in getting the new rear wings out here. We still have a lot of work to keep progressing.
I am really happy for the team and all the guys. We’ve tried really hard to find a good balance all weekend. Yesterday’s practice, particularly the first session, was really difficult for me. The car wasn’t great so we took a bit of a risk and decided to run the new rear wing in qualifying. The car seems more competitive, but we still need to keep pushing and improve. I am happy today.
I knew we had a gearbox problem as soon as I went out in Q1 as it felt strange. I think there is a big positive in saving a set of tyres, which is one way of looking at it, but having seen where Pastor finished, we could also have had a good shot inside the top ten. I will be pushing to be there tomorrow.