There were mixed feelings for the Williams team after the Brazilian Grand Prix, having seen two top ten qualifying positions yield just four points, but knowing that they were good enough to leap-frog Force India and claim sixth place in the constructors' championship standings.
Although the Grove-based team did not expect its surprise pole position to produce much more than a shop window for Nico Hulkenberg as he battles to keep his place in the line-up for 2011, it had hoped that both
its drivers could hang on to scoring positions through to the end of the 71-lap encounter at Interlagos. Incredibly, as well as stronger rivals such as McLaren and Mercedes getting drivers who had qualified outside the top ten back up the order, Williams fell victim to Rubens Barrichello's ongoing Brazilian GP jinx, after a mid-race puncture floored the local boy and restricted him to 14th at the chequered flag.
"I was happy with my pace but, unfortunately, after one of my overtaking attempts on [Jaime] Alguersuari, he ran over me which destroyed my front tyre, so I had to come in again," Barrichello lamented, "I just came in too many times to score points - and we had a faulty pit-stop too, which we need to investigate. I'm sorry for all the Brazilians who came here wanting a different result. All I can say is that I gave it my all until the very end."
While Barrichello was restricted to battling with the likes of Toro Rosso and Force India, team-mate Hulkenberg enjoyed his moment of glory at the front of the field, despite being passed by both Red Bull cars in the space of a few corners on the opening lap. Once Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber had gone through, however, the German resisted the advances of championship leader for several laps, before having to accept the inevitable. From there, it was a slippery slope as Lewis Hamilton also got by, while Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg both benefited from different strategies to recover from qualifying outside the top.
Hulkenberg eventually finished behind another German, Michael Schumacher, but insisted that his result was in line with his realistic hopes for the race.
"Even though we started on pole, my expectations for the race were to finish between fifth and tenth, so P8 is fine and it means we are now sixth in the constructors' championship," he said, alluding to Williams' biggest ambition for the race, "The team did a great pit-stop and chose the right strategy, we just needed some more car pace, but I am happy with that result because I gave it everything today - there wasn't anything left in me to give! I was struggling quite a lot with the car, it really wasn't easy to drive, but I kept [Robert] Kubica behind me all the way."
Director of engineering Patrick Head also pointed to another unforeseen moment that perhaps compromised the team's ability to capitalise on its Saturday form, but accepted that Barrichello's fate had stemmed from his tyre change.
"From our grid positions, the results obviously aren't great, but Nico drove well despite struggling with vibrations," the veteran commented, "He was driving to the pace of the car, but we were unfortunate with the timing of the safety car, because it pulled us too far back in the order and prevented us from possibly challenging Mercedes.
"Rubens' drive, meanwhile, was destroyed by a problem pit-stop, in which we had an issue with the nut on the right rear, and he then had a bump with Alguersuari which caused a puncture and required another stop. That effectively put him out of contention for points."