Pastor Maldonado was adamant that a top ten starting position for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix would have been possible, had the rain continued to fall upon the legendary Monte-Carlo street circuit. However, the weather improved and Pastor Maldonado struggled on the dry tyres to only qualify 16th for the race.
After enduring a frustratingly uncompetitive start to the season, Williams are still searching for their first points of the season. As the rain began to fall only moments before the start of the all-important qualifying hour, the possibility for a decent qualifying result was certainly on the cards for both Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas. The duo excelled in the opening segment of qualifying, finishing 1st and 9th respectively in the tricky weather conditions.
However, as the conditions improved throughout the second segment of qualifying, both drivers began to struggle. Eventually Formula 1 rookie Valtteri Bottas managed to out-qualify experienced team-mate Pastor Maldonado, who frustratingly began to suffer from locking tyres at the front as he switched to the super-soft Pirelli tyres. This saw the Venezuelan ace fall from 1st fastest in Q1 to 16th and last in Q2, in what was ultimately a topsy-turvy qualifying session.
“We were quick in Q1 as I know this track very well and in damp conditions I know where to take risks.” Explained Pastor Maldonado, “As it was getting dry the car wasn’t working as well though, as the front was locking quite a lot. I think the top ten was possible as there is some improvement, especially if it had stayed wet. It is looking good for the future though with the data we have gathered this weekend so far.”
Due to their highly uncompetitive start to the season, Williams will be looking to continue improving throughout the remainder of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend and next time out at the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal. After a relatively productive qualifying hour, both of the drivers and the team’s technical director Mike Coughlan believes lots of useful data was gathered throughout the day.
“It was a difficult qualifying managing the changeable conditions but the team did a good job to make the right calls as to when to switch onto new tyres.” Said Mike Coughlan, “In the wet Pastor showed how good he can be around this circuit, posting the quickest time in Q1. Valtteri also did a great job to be ninth in Q1 in his first ever qualifying session here in Monaco. We have gathered lots of useful data here though and feel we have a good development direction to take forward.”
With passing notoriously difficult around the Monte-Carlo street circuit, both Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas will be hoping the high rate of attrition will come into their favor during tomorrow’s 78-lap race. Should the safety car make an appearance during the race, a clever strategy could enable the Williams duo to rise through the order to secure their first points of the season.
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