Williams F1 just can't seem to catch a break at the moment, with the race stewards once again hitting the team with a financial penalty for a breach of the rules on pit lane at the end of Free Practice 2.

Having been fined at previous Grand Prix events for wheels not being fitted correctly, the problem on Friday at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas was more of a procedural matter with the team being deemed to have improperly released Valtteri Bottas from his pit box after the session has ended.

"The driver stopped in his pit stop position and then drove from that position without continuing on to the track" read the stewards' penalty notice. "The team released the car 50 seconds after the Pit Exit light was Red.

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This was a "breach of the Race Director's Instruction (Section 9) and Appendix L Chapter IV of the FIA International Sporting Code," the notice added, before handing down a 5000 euro fine on the team - a relatively light slap on the wrists compared with some of the other penalties the team has been beset by this season.

It was nonetheless an unfortunate way to end the day, which actually started brightly for Williams despite the heavy early morning fog that delayed the start of the curtailed first practice session in which Bottas ended third fastest behind Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

"We did some aero testing with new parts for the car today, which look like they may provide some small gains," explained Bottas. "The track was quite slippery in the morning which seemed to suit our car but as the track improved in FP2 we struggled with the car balance.

"The performance in the first session showed our potential, so if we get everything right and the weather suits us it may be better for us," he added.

Despite running tenth fastest in the morning session before slipping down to 15th in the combined standings at the end of the day, Pastor Maldonado was less upbeat than his team mate with how the day had gone.

"It was a difficult session today, particularly trying to get the most out of the tyres," said the Venezuelan driver, who confirmed at the start of the week that he would not be back with the team in 2014. "We are struggling to get the maximum downforce here and the car feels like it's not working together between the front and the rear."

Xevi Pujolar, Williams' chief race engineer, explained what the team had been working on during the shorter-than-usual Friday track time and what the differences had been between the hardware available to the two drivers.

"Valtteri had a development floor which worked as expected whilst Pastor worked through a number of aerodynamic tests," he began. "Initial comments from the drivers were that the grip level was better than last year, but that they were still struggling to get the tyres to warm up.

"In FP2 both drivers did some further tests with different floors. Pastor also had a different exhaust configuration and rear wing level, but overall the grip and pace wasn't as good and he struggled to get the tyres to work," he continued.

"With the higher track temperatures we couldn't improve our times but we were happier with the configuration on Valtteri's car so both will run this [on Saturday and for the race]."