The Williams F1 team brought a development package for 2014 to the Yas Marina Circuit, which they tested during Friday practice. It included removing the Coanda exhaust that was previously on the car and trialling a 2014-spec exhaust configuration. Strangely, the two drivers found positive improvements on the development package and it was subsequently fitted to both cars for qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas believed that he could fight for a position in the top 10 shoot-out after strong performances in third practice and the first qualifying session. However, he could only manage 16th in Q2 after traffic cost him time.
“I was expecting that we would be fighting for a place in Q3 so I’m a little disappointed,” he admitted after qualifying. “As the track conditions were improving other car’s times were dropping but we were not able to benefit from that extra grip as much. I was also held up by traffic on my final run which cost me a few tenths.”
The Finn added: “It’s not the best place to start the race but we know that around this track we can be quite strong on long runs so I expect that we will be able to move up tomorrow.”
Team-mate Pastor Maldonado also lost time due to traffic and will line up just ahead of Bottas in 15th. Despite the disappointing qualifying result, the Venezuelan feels improvements have been made this weekend: “I had a strong Q1 but in Q2 I struggled with traffic and wasn’t able to put a clean lap together, with the cars that crossed the line after me benefitted from the increased rubber on track.”
He feels that the car is more consistent, which will help during the 55-lap Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: “We have made some updates for this weekend and the car is feeling more consistent which will help us tomorrow in the race, and overall I feel that we have made a positive step forward.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic