Facing a start from 18th on the grid, Pastor Maldonado must have been expecting the Indian Grand Prix to be a long hard slog on Sunday afternoon, and so it proved to be.

But for just few a few minutes when the lights went out there was a brief shining light of hope for the Williams F1 driver, as he shot up six places in the first lap - the best start of anyone at the Buddh International Circuit this weekend.

"I had another strong start and made up a good number of places on the first lap," he said. "This was a better weekend for us, with the car showing better race pace which is encouraging."

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He'd gained a couple more positions and was into the top ten before his first pit stop at the end of lap eight, which plunged him all the way back down to 19th position again, leaving him having to work hard to regain positions before his second stop and ultimately ending up in 12th and out of the points after all.

"I was fighting hard at the end of the race to try and get us in to the top ten but unfortunately we didn't quite make it today," he said. "We can take positives from this weekend and I feel we are getting closer to the points so hopefully we can score some more in the final three races."

"Pastor had a great start, gaining positions and had good pace during his first stint. The option tyres were degrading quickly so we needed to pit him quite early in the race, explained chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar. "He then maintained good pace on the medium tyres, coming on strong towards the end as the cars ahead began to struggle and he was fighting in the group of cars chasing the final point."

Williams had decided to hedge their strategies, with Maldonado's team mate Valtteri Bottas starting off on the medium prime which allowed him to run all the way through to the midpoint of the race before his first stop by which point he was up into eighth place.

"The first lap was very slippery for me and I was sliding a lot more than other cars and lost some positions, but my pace in the first stint was getting better and I was getting more and more grip from the tyres," said the Finn.

However, this late stop hadn't actually been the team's plan: "However I had a radio failure which meant my first pitstop was later than planned and I lost track position," Bottas revealed.

"Valtteri was looking after his medium tyres in the opening stint, but shortly before his first pitstop we lost radio communication to his car, which resulted in him pitting later than we had wanted and this lost him time and track position," confirmed Pujolar.

"In the second stint I was fighting closely with a lot of other cars and that traffic cost us a bit of time," said Bottas, taking up the story again. "Our race pace was stronger than in the last few races and I felt that I was on the right strategy, but the lack of running in free air meant that I wasn't able to capitalise on this and challenge for points."

The team was also compromised by an enforced slow-down on its pit stops after the issue with another loose lugnut on Friday which earned them a 60,000 euro fine for the second Grand Prix in succession.

"Considering the radio problem we had and that our pitstop times were compromised to ensure safety, the end result was the best we could have hoped for today," admitted Pujolar. "All-in-all our pace and consistency has improved since Japan."