Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado delivered ten points between them on the Williams team's best weekend since 2010, and on the day before Sir Frank Williams turns 70.
Senna drove through from 14th on the grid to finish seventh, with Maldonado following him home in eighth place, accumulating ten points between them for Williams' highest single race since the British Grand Prix in 2010.
A combination of clever strategy and opportunistic driving helped the duo on their way to beating several more fancied drivers, among them both Saubers, both Ferraris and the Lotus of Kimi Räikkönen.
“I am so happy for the whole team," chief operations engineer Mark Gillan said, expressing his delight with the performance of the team and its drivers, "It is an excellent result to get both cars into the points, the culmination of everyone's hard work and dedication, coupled with great drives by both drivers to manage their tyres and make a two-stop strategy work.”
Senna was naturally delighted with the result and expressed a firm belief that the team's progress won't stop here.
“It was a great result for the team to finish with two cars in the points today," the Brazilian noted, "It was a tough race and tyre wear was high. Our strategy worked for us today but we're still learning and improving together. We aim to continue to get better throughout the next few races.”
Senna started on the medium tyre and made the team's two-stop strategy work well, whilst Maldonado also went for a two-stopper, albeit started on the soft tyres. The Venezuelan set the fourth fastest lap on what was arguably his best performance in his 22-race F1 career, but acknowledged that it had been far from easy.
“It was very tough today," he admitted, "I lost places at the start and it was difficult to overtake, but we had good pace. We were able to fight all the way to the end, so I'm happy to get some points. It was a great result for the team.”
Indeed it was, and on the day before Frank Williams turns seventy, there seems to be growing hope of a brighter future for his team as they look to take F1 2012 by storm.
by Philip Barclay