Despite returning to their winning ways at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, Williams’s uncompetitive start to the new season has continued this weekend around Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya. This time last year, Pastor Maldonado was preparing to start his first race from pole position in Formula 1 machinery.
Since that memorable occasion, Williams has endured an incredibly tough start to their 2013 campaign, failing to score a single World Championship point in the opening four races. This has seen the Grove-based outfit become stuck towards the rear of the pack, along with the likes of Marussia and Caterham. For this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, the team introduced several new upgrades to their car in a bid to catch the midfield teams such as Force India and Sauber.
However, after qualifying for the 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix, both Williams drivers Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas were eliminated after only Q1, in yet another frustrating afternoon for the team. Although Finnish rookie Valtteri Bottas believes the team has made minor steps forward, the team’s technical director Mike Coughlan was understandably throughly disappointed with the team’s qualifying result.
“After winning here last year, to go out in Q1 is really disappointing for us.” Explained Mike Coughlan, “On such a close grid, in which Valtteri only missed out on Q2 by half a tenth, we need to be making bigger steps forward than those around us if we want to be able to show any improvement in results. Our race pace is more competitive than what we have shown today so we still aim to fight for points in tomorrow’s race, but everyone at Williams, both here and at the factory, knows that there is a great deal of work to do in order for us to move forward this season.”
For the second weekend in succession, former GP3 Champion Valtteri Bottas has out-qualified experienced team-mate Pastor Maldonado. Although the team once again struggled greatly during qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas was able to shed some positives over their performance stating that he believes the team is heading in the right direction.
“Unfortunately the result from today shows where we are compared to others, but I still think we’ve made a step forward and we’re heading in the right direction.” Said Valtteri Bottas, who will start tomorrow’s race from 16th after Esteban Gutierrez’s grid penalty. “It seems everyone else has improved as well which means we are in similar position to the first four races. Hopefully we can keep making the same steps race-by-race. We will try our best tomorrow and I still think we can climb up the grid as our race pace looks good.”
Although the Williams duo face an uphill struggle during tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix, the team is still aiming to secure points and are confident with their race pace. The team is in desperate need of their first points of the season, in what has so far been a tough opening few races for the Grove-based outfit.
Picture Copyright © Octane Photographics