Williams will be able to celebrate its best team qualifying performance of F1 2012 after a tight session, with Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna due to start eighth and ninth for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
After winning the fifth round of the year in Barcelona in May, Maldonado has struggled to stay out of trouble and has yet to add to his points tally, despite flashes of pace in the meantime.
The Venezuelan admits that a good result is imperative going into the summer break that follows the Hungarian Grand Prix.
“My qualifying performance was quite good, but then in Q3 I came across traffic twice," he said. "I am happy for the team as we both did a good job to put the team near the front so it's looking positive. It's going to be a tough race here but an important one as getting points is our priority.
“The gaps are very close but we are both in the top ten and now we need to push for a better position in the race. We have the car and qualifying place for a good finish tomorrow.”
Maldonado's team-mate Senna had his strongest qualifying of the year, and will line up in ninth place ahead of the Grand Prix. In contrast to Maldonado, the Brazilian has finished half of this years races in the points, however has missed the extra burst of pace that his team mate has occasionally unlocked in moving towards the front of a race.
“It's been a good weekend so far and I'm really happy to be in the top ten for the first time this season," he said. "Q2 was extremely close but we were able to get through. I could have done a better lap in Q3 but I'm pleased with the result and having both cars in Q3 is great for the team.
“The car has felt consistent and our long run pace is looking good. We're in a strong position for the start of the race, so from here I'll be pushing to bring home some good points for the team.”
A strong result this weekend would come as a welcome boost to a team that has struggled to deliver the results its pace would seem to merit in recent races, and both drivers are under pressure from media speculation about the emerging talent of young test driver Valtteri Bottas.
The team's chief operations engineer, Mark Gillan, stated that the team were pleased with the efforts of both drivers in qualifying, and added in a word of warning about the weather...
“Both drivers did very well today in qualifying in what is an extremely tight and competitive grid," he said. "We are very pleased to get both cars into the final session of qualifying for the first time this season and look forward to the race tomorrow. The forecast indicates that the race is likely to be wet and the rain could be heavy, especially towards the later stages of the race.”
by Philip Barclay