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Williams aiming for double points in Texas
18 November 2012
The Williams F1 team is aiming to being home both of their cars in the points in this weekend's inaugural 2012 United States F1 Grand Prix, with Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna set to start from tenth and 11th positions respectively.
"We are looking forward to [the race] and will push hard to get both drivers home in the points," said the team's Chief Operations Engineer Mark Gillan, who admitted that qualifying on Saturday had been somewhat different from the norm.
"Both cars responded well to the overnight set-up changes with the general balance in FP3 being pretty good," he said. "Qualifying was somewhat unusual, with most cars doing longer runs in an attempt to get the tyres into their optimal window."
Both drivers had easily progressed at the end of Q1, and Pastor Maldonado also had a strong stage of qualifying to make it into the top ten - but then found it difficult to repeat his earlier form in the final round.
"Unfortunately in Q3 the grip wasn't there, as it was difficult to get the tyres working correctly," Maldonado explained after the end of the session. "It's important we are in the top ten for tomorrow though. We have a good car so we are looking to get more points tomorrow in what looks set to be a good race."
Although it's not a home race for the Venezuelan, the fact that he's back on his home continent at least has meant a visible boost in fan support for him around the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
"All around the track are Venezuelan flags and there is a lot of support here for me as it's so close to my home, so hopefully that will help give me an extra boost tomorrow!" he said.
Maldonado's team mate Bruno Senna narrowly missed out on making it into the Q3 pole shootout session, falling two tenths short of outing Kimi Raikkonen from the top ten.
"Unfortunately I made a small mistake on my best lap in Q2, running a bit wide on turn 19 and then having dirty tyres which cost me about half a second and a place in Q3 for sure," he explained.
But starting from 11th place makes him the first driver of the cars with a free hand on tyre strategies and not locked in by their approach to Q3, and Senna was hopeful that this put him in a strong position to claim some more points for the team in the race.
"We have a good car and we looked competitive in our race simulation in practice yesterday, so I'm really looking forward to the race," he said. "It's a track we are all attacking and it's important to keep pushing.
"We are able to score good points from where we are," he added.
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