The Williams team finally broke its 2013 points duck as a little luck went its way.
Having seen a couple of potential top ten runs scuppered by misfortune earlier in the season, the Grove team was able to christen its 601st appearance with tenth place courtesy of a dogged Pastor Maldonado as well as a modicum of luck when Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg exceeded the pit-lane speed limit and Nico Rosberg's Mercedes expired in a mix of smoke and flame just a few laps from home.
“I had a really good start from P15 and made a few overtaking manoeuvres during the race which were on the limit, which is especially pleasing as, at this track, it is very hard to overtake,” the Venezuelan reported, “The car felt consistent, maybe not as fast in the second and third stints, but very consistent.”
Maldonado's quest wasn't helped by his drinks bottle running dry mid-race, but he soldiered on through temperatures in the mid-30s Centigrade to capitalise on others' misfortune and rack up Williams first scoring finish in ten attempts this season.
“I really want to keep scoring points now, and be even stronger during the second part of the season,” he concluded.
Maldonado's point lifts Williams out of a three-way tie with backmarkers Marussia and Caterham, which it led, precariously, courtesy of the Venezuelan's brace of eleventh-place finishes from Bahrain and Britain.
“We knew it would be a challenge with the high temperatures today, but we stuck to our three-stop strategy which worked well for us,” chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar revealed, “Pastor made a great start which put him in straight into contention to fight for points. It looked like [Sergio] Perez was too far ahead towards the end but, with Rosberg's late retirement, Pastor was able to collect an important point for us – [one which] gives us a good motivation going into the summer break to come back even stronger for the remaining races of the season.”
The team's joy at finally breaking its duck was tempered, however, by Valtteri Bottas' first DNF as an F1 driver, the Finn being sidelined by an hydraulic problem on lap 42.
“It's a shame to have my first retirement of the season as the goal was to finish every race, but there was nothing I could do today,” Bottas commented, “We still need to investigate what happened, but it felt like hydraulics as, first, I lost the power steering and then the engine.”
Like his team-mate, the realisation of the team's first point provided Bottas – who also has an eleventh-place finish from Malaysia - with a little positive momentum heading into the summer break, with a month off before the circus reconvenes in Belgium.
“Today wasn't my best race but, in general, I feel I am improving all the time and looking forward to the second half of the season,” the Finn added, “Congratulations to Pastor and the team on claiming our first point, but we now need to work hard to build on that when we return after the summer.”