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Williams falls well short of repeating 2012 glory
13 May 2013
A year is a long time in F1 competition, as Williams were rudely reminded all too well in Spain this weekend. Winners here 12 months ago, in this return to Barcelona neither of the team's drivers even vaguely troubled the top ten all afternoon.
With memories of his 2012 win rapidly fading to sepia, the highest position that Pastor Maldonado could reach on Sunday in this year's Spanish Grand Prix was 12th place just before the final round of pit stops dropped him back two spots to 14th, which is where he took the chequered flag.
"The pace was unfortunately not in the car today," said Maldonado, who was among the majority of drivers forced into a four-stop strategy by the surprisingly high tyre degradation experienced by all the teams at the Circuit de Catalunya, but who then had to make an unwanted fifth tour down pit lane as well.
"We made one more pit stop than we hoped to because I was given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane," he said. "But overall we did the best we could. We now need to regroup, work hard and prepare for Monaco."
Valtteri Bottas was able to stick to the originally planned three-stop strategy and didn't have a speeding penalty to deal with, but despite starting ahead of his team mate on the grid the Finnish rookie ended up coming home two spots behind Maldonado at the finish line.
"We made a three-stop strategy work but in the end, Pastor switched to a four-stop race and that seemed to be better," Bottas admitted. "I couldn't feel the grip in the car and we were sliding a lot from the start which meant we were hard on the tyres.
"We're not where we want to be, so there is still a lot of work to do," he conceded.
"We knew it would be a difficult race today," added the team's technical director Mike Coughlan. "We can draw a slight positive from the three places Pastor gained from his grid position.
"We were suffering with high tyre degradation and so made the decision to switch Pastor onto a four-stop strategy. We committed to a three-stop with Valtteri, but we then lost a lot of time," he said. "We need to check the data as the degradation on his car was unusual compared to the pace we had on Friday.
"Everyone at Williams knows what needs to be done to turn things around and we need to keep working hard," he added.
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