After finally securing their first point of the season last time out at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Williams are aiming to add to their meagre tally when the sport reconvenes this weekend at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the Belgian Grand Prix. Williams are currently six points behind Sauber in the Constructors’ Championship.
So far this season the Grove-based outfit has endured another frustratingly uncompetitive season, reminiscent of their 2011 campaign which also yielded very few points. After a much improved season last year for the outfit, which included their first victory since way back in 2004, many were expecting Williams to remain a regular team in the points. However, such ambitions have failed to materialise with only Pastor Maldonado scoring one point so far this season. The Venezuelan ace scored his first points in Formula 1 at Spa-Francorchamps in 2011, and is naturally aiming to repeat such a result this weekend.
“Spa is one of my favorite circuits because it has so much history and is so fun to drive.” Enthused Pastor Maldonado, who has failed to return to the podium since his maiden victory last year. “It’s a very technical and fast circuit and you find a very wide range of corners there: uphill, downhill, very slow, medium, fast, short and long corners. It’s the most complete track of the season and this tests you as a driver and also tests the car’s setup. Two years ago I picked up my first point in Formula One here and hopefully I will be in the points again this weekend.”
Like many other drivers up and down the paddock, rookie Valtteri Bottas also adores the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit. With the Finn preparing to make his first competitive appearance at the circuit in Formula 1 machinery, his aim is also set on finishing within the points for the first time in his career. So far none of the four rookies have finished within the points this season, something the 2011 GP3 Champion is eager to change once the track action gets underway.
“I first drove at Spa in 2007 in Formula Renault and immediately fell in love with the track.” Explained Valtteri Bottas, who won at Spa-Francorchamps in the GP3 Series in 2011. “It’s very high speed, flowing and undulating and gives you a real adrenaline rush. Achieving a good car setup is difficult because of the wide variety of corners, but we will try to get as much information as we can during the practice sessions to find the most appropriate setup for qualifying and the race. We have shown some improvements in race pace over the past few races and we know we are heading in the right direction. We will therefore be looking to have another points scoring result this weekend that will give us good momentum for the second half of the season.”
Although Williams has endured a tough first half to the season, the outfit will be hopeful of an improved second half as the sport prepares to return to Asia later next month. With Sauber also suffering an uncompetitive season so far in comparison to last year, Williams will be keen to catch the Swiss outfit before the season draws to a conclusion in Brazil.
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