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Chinese Grand Prix 2013: Williams hope for boost from race set-up

13 April 2013

For a moment it looked as though Pastor Maldonado might just have done enough to sneak through into Q3 during qualifying in Shanghai for the 2013 F1 Chinese Grand Prix: when he crossed the line at the end of his flying lap he was in tenth place and still in with a chance of progressing.

Unfortunately a flurry of even faster laps by the cars behind him competing their own qualifying runs doomed the Williams driver to 15th spot on the timesheets, and very much on the outside looking in for the remainder of the session.

"I got everything I could out of the car today," said a disconsolate Maldonado in pit lane afterwards. "I was hoping for a better result but we couldn't quite put it all together in Q2.

"It's not where we want to be so we need to work very hard," he said. "We've been working hard already but we need time to turn things around. We have a good amount of new tyres for tomorrow and the tyres are very sensitive here, so that could make the race very interesting. Anything can happen tomorrow and we will do our very best."

"In a close grid where you only get a single lap in qualifying, any small mistakes are punished," sighed Williams' technical director, Mike Coughlan. "We feel we have a much better set-up for the race on the hard tyre rather than on the soft tyre.

"We are aiming to deliver a better performance tomorrow," he asserted. "We know we still have more laptime to find but we are working hard at it."

Maldonado did at least inherit 14th place on the grid, after Mark Webber's Red Bull ran out of fuel in Q2 and the car was sent to the back of the grid for not being able to serve up a mandatory one litre fuel sample to the scrutineers.

The Venezuelan's team mate Valtteri Bottas also didn't enjoy qualifying in China, falling at the first hurdle after being unable to get a clear flying lap in Q1.

"We left the run quite late in Q1 as everyone else also left it late before heading back out and we were waiting for the track conditions to improve," explained the Finn. "However, with only one lap to get everything right it was quite a difficult situation.

"The wind conditions made it tricky to get the perfect lap as I was trying to push hard and it's a new experience for me to have to put everything together in just one lap," he admitted. "The conditions were different to FP3 and I didn't make the most of qualifying.

"Now we are focused on getting the strategy right for the race to make the most of the new tyres we have," he finished.


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