After the rollercoaster ride in Barcelona last month that saw them claim their first Grand Prix victory in nearly eight years - but then suffer a devastating pit lane fire shortly afterwards - the Williams F1 team are back down to the reality of warfare in the F1 trenches.

The biggest casualty of Friday's action was Bruno Senna's car, which ended up wrecked against the notorious Wall of Champions at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. But the bigger headache for Williams' Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan was the team's overall qualifying pace.

"We are happy with our long run pace but still have work to do to optimise the car for qualifying," he admitted after practice.

"Obviously after the Barcelona win we were very much on a high. Going into Monaco we had high expectations and I think the car certainly was ...," he tailed off. "We should have been good enough for P4-P5," he said instead.

"It was disappointing," he continued. "There were a range of issues that hit us through the weekend and I think that as a team collectively we could have done a better job. We look to make amends this weekend."

Spanish GP race winner Pastor Maldonado was feeling positive that they could, and would do better this weekend: "We still need to work on the set-up to get the right balance, but overall the car felt good and was consistent," he said. "We have also brought some upgrades to this race and they were performing well which is encouraging."

"We have a new rear wing here this weekend for Montreal," expanded Gillan on that point. "It was tested with Pastor this morning and run by both drivers this afternoon and it's working well."

As for Bruno Senna, the Brazilian driver also felt that the team was making progress despite DRS problems in FP1 on Friday and his own mishap against the wall in FP2. "We have made some improvements on the overall package and [Saturday] morning I can go out and try to fine tune the set-up to get a good result on Sunday," he said.

As far as Gillan is concerned, the one area that's performing even better than he could have hoped for is the relationship in 2012 with their new engine suppliers, Renault, which has made all the difference to Williams' competitiveness.

"It's had a massive impact," he agreed. "They're very impressive as an engine manufacturer and they've slotted in seamlessly with the team. A very very good relationship has built up very quickly and things are going very well with them."

Good enough to make Williams eye up at least a place on the podium at Canada, despite their concerns about qualifying performance.