The Williams F1 team had said in advance of Saturday's qualifying session that they were worried about their single lap speed compared with their race performance, and they were proved right in Canada with both drivers exiting at the bottom of the Q2 timings.

"Following a reasonably competitive morning session we struggled to find the pace in qualifying which we now need to analyse and understand," confirmed the team's Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan.

Pastor Maldonado had certainly done his level best to pull off a final lap surprise and looked set to bump McLaren's Jenson Button from the top ten in the last seconds of the session, but then pushed it too hard through the final chicane and ended up being another notch on the Wall of Champions.

"On my final lap I just took too much kerb and ended up hitting the wall," said the Venezuelan, confirming that it was particularly disappointing "because I was on a good lap that should have put me into Q3."

Bruno Senna had ended up in the same wall on Friday, which he admitted hadn't helped his qualifying campaign: "It was looking promising in Q1 and I managed to put a few good laps together, but the track evolution caught us out a little bit and there just wasn't the grip in Q2," he explained.

But despite the disappointing outcome to qualifying, everyone was still hoping that they could overcome the poor grid positions and make a strong showing of it in the Canadian Grand Prix itself.

"We have learnt a lot today and I'm sure we will be stronger tomorrow in the race because the car has been looking strong during long runs all week,: said Senna, who will start from 16th position.

"The car has been looking better this week than this qualifying session suggests," agreed Maldonado, who will start from 17th after that final corner crash. "We have good race pace so we will have a good chance of making up positions tomorrow."

"We have a lot to do tomorrow to get into the points but our high fuel, long run pace is good," added Gillan.