It was another difficult day for the Williams F1 Team in Japan after their cars came home in 16th and 17th place. Pastor Maldonado was the lead driver across the line after a forceful late move on his team-mate at the Casio Triangle.
Despite the poor result, Maldonado felt that he got everything out of the car and that 16th place was the maximum for the pace that he had. Discussing the contact with Bottas in the closing stages he said: “It was pleasing to be able to make a move on the last lap to gain a position over my teammate.”
However, he felt that their strategy call was the wrong one: “I felt we got the strategy slightly wrong today and we were struggling with the pace a bit, but we did manage to get 100% out of the car.”
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was happy with the feel of his car early on but felt that the pace dropped off at the end of his second stint. He struggled with tyre wear towards the end which helped Maldonado to close up and subsequently pass him.
He said after the race: “At the beginning of the race we didn’t look too bad and managed to keep some cars behind us. At the end of the second stint and into the third stint our pace seemed to drop off and we weren’t able to keep our positions. As the tyres wore out at the end we did struggle a bit, so unfortunately we couldn’t fight anymore.”
Both drivers completed a two-stop strategy but Xevi Pujorlar, the team’s chief race engineer, felt that they needed to be a bit more aggressive if they wanted to battle with the Force India and Toro Rosso drivers. He said: “We stuck to strategy but needed to be more aggressive in the second stint to keep them behind so in the end we weren’t able to hold them off. Ultimately our pace wasn’t good enough. This circuit is hard on tyres and our tyre life was on the limit so we couldn’t pit any earlier than we did otherwise we risked not making it to the end of the race.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic