The Williams F1 Team head to Abu Dhabi in positive spirits after progress was made at the last round in India. Pastor Maldonado finished the race just two seconds off the top 10 and half a second behind Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.
The Venezuelan feels that steps forward are being made and is hoping that this will continue at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, on a track that he thinks will suit his driving style.
He had a strong race to fifth place last year after qualifying in third. Whilst he won’t be able to replicate that result this year, he is hoping to finish in the point’s for only the second time in 2013: “Last year I had a good race weekend here, qualifying in P3 and finishing P5 despite not having KERS available in the race, so this is a track that suits me and I have good memories of it.”
The 28-year-old commented on the circuit itself, saying: “Abu Dhabi also has great weather, nice people and is generally impressive all around so it is a nice place to visit. I like the track’s first sector in particular as it is very quick, particularly Turns 2, 3 and 4, and the final sector is very picturesque. Whenever we visit a race with a hot climate we can see thermal tyre degradation, so this will be a focus for us in the build up to the weekend.”
He added: “We have made some progress in recent weeks and the car felt better in India, so we will be looking to continue moving forwards as we approach the final few races of the season.”
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas isn’t expecting tyre wear to be an issue over the weekend although thermal degradation could be a potential problem: “Abu Dhabi is very different to recent tracks; the corners are quite short with lots of chicanes and big braking zones, so we will need to set the car up differently. You need good traction when exiting the corners to minimise wheel spin and your car needs to be good at taking kerbs. We are not expecting the track to be too severe on tyres, although because the ambient and track temperatures are quite high the tyres can degrade thermally quite a bit so we will need to manage that.”
“I have good memories of the Yas Marina Circuit as this is where I drove a Formula One car for the first time in 2011 with Williams, and we had a strong result here last year as well which should prove useful for this weekend when setting the car up,” he added.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic