Twelve months on from taking pole and victory in the Spanish Grand Prix, Williams failed to get either of its cars through into the second phase of qualifying at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Although the final grid order is likely to be shuffled by blocking penalties, Valtteri Bottas and 2012 race winner Pastor Maldonado did not have the pace from their updated FW35s to escape the bottom six in the opening session. Maldonado is also one of the drivers facing censure, having appeared to block Jenson Button and could find himself at the back of the field on Sunday afternoon.
In the interim, the Williams pair will line up ahead of the Caterham and Marussia pairings, with Giedo van der Garde winning the 'division three' battle at a venue where he has enjoyed success in GP2. The Dutchman was the last of the quartet on track and, having seen both Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton trump Caterham team-mate Charles Pic, beat both to claim the inside of row ten despite not having the latest spec upgrade from Leafield.
At the front of the field, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton bided his time before venturing out and claiming top spot on the softer of the Pirelli tyres, closely followed by team-mate Nico Rosberg.
Like Red Bull, Mercedes opted to use the softer tyre in a bid to save as much of its hard rubber for raceday. McLaren, on the other hand, opted for the white-rimmed tyres in a bid to ensure both its drivers survived the cut....