25 October 2010
Williams rue late race problems in Korea
The Williams team was left to rue late-race problems that robbed it of a better result in the Korean GP.
Rain, a series of safety cars, racing incidents and darkening conditions towards the end of the race all conspired to create a memorable first F1 race in South Korea, but the Williams team left Yeongam feeling that it had underachieved on an afternoon of drama.
Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg survived the tricky conditions to take the chequered flag in seventh and tenth respectively, but despite taking points finishes with both FW32s, technical director Sam Michael admitted that he felt that a better result had been within the team's grasp.
"If you compared the cars that we finished behind, and if you consider Nico's pace in the opening stint when he overtook [Robert] Kubica and was attacking [Jenson] Button, then, near the end of the race, we had both cars well into the points," the straight-talking Australian explained, "Unfortunately, we had a puncture on Nico's car and Rubens went off the road and lost a couple of positions so, of course, we were not happy that we'd scored the points that the FW32 was capable of today.
"Those conditions are always difficult for drivers and the team but, of course, in F1, it is the same for everyone. It's merely an opportunity to shine!
Hulkenberg had been running sixth when the team on pit-wall reported that the slow puncture had suddenly accelerated, forcing him to pit for another set of tyres with just four laps to go. Despite being passed by Jaime Alguersuari as he rejoined, the young German battled back to reclaim the final point in the gathering gloom.
"We did everything right today; we simply had some bad luck," Hulkenberg, whose place for 2011 is far from secure, commented, "[Earlier in the race] I came in just before the safety car was released, which cost me time and lost me a place, but we managed to claw back position and were running in sixth towards the end of the race. Then my engineer told me I had a slow puncture, and I couldn't keep running until the end as the car was totally undriveable. We had to pit and that cost us a big result."
In contrast to his team-mate Barrichello got lucky with the safety car and could have been on for a top five finish had it not been for his tyre problems allowing both Kubica and Tonio Liuzzi through.
"It was a tough race, but we were competitive today," the Brazilian insisted, "I was lucky with the timing of the safety car and we were running in a good position right up until the closing stages. Unfortunately, I just ran out of tyre in the last five laps, which cost us two places in the end. It was very difficult out there today so I'm pleased we managed to complete the race."
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