Williams have branded their performance in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix as 'weak' and are now hoping that mixed weather conditions can help them improve on their 16th and 19th positions on the grid.

Qualifying has been a strength for the team this season, in the hands of Nico Rosberg at least, the young German reaching the top ten shootout on ten occasions this season, but he has struggled with tyre problems in Shanghai.

Sneaking through to the second phase of qualifying, Rosberg left his best lap till late but could not do enough to even improve on the 16th - and slowest - place he found himself in. He placed the blame on failing to get the most out of the Bridgestone tyre and its lack of grip.

"We had problems getting the tyres to work on our car. Sometimes it was losing grip and sliding at the front, sometimes it was the rear. With these characteristics, there was no possibility of setting a quick time due to the lack of predictability. Our performance was poor and the final outcome in qualifying today will make tomorrow difficult for us. Now I think we should hope for some rain tomorrow - not as much as in Fuji - but enough to give us a chance."

Team-mate Alex Wurz endured another qualifying session to forget when he failed to progress past the first stage for the seventh time this season, the Austrian starting 19th.

"After morning practice, I felt the car was going to be pretty strong and we would be okay. In qualifying, the car felt alright in terms of balance but we just didn't have the speed. We will have to accept the situation and see what we can do tomorrow."

It all combined to prompt some criticism from Patrick Head, who rarely offers his comments on the team's performances after qualifying or the race. He too questioned the tyre problems Rosberg described and is now hoping rain will come to provide a more level playing field.

"Obviously today saw a very weak performance from us. We seem to have difficulty getting the time out of the option tyre, but other teams haven't so we have to look to ourselves for the cause of that and it's going to be a very difficult race tomorrow starting where we are on the grid.

"Meanwhile, it seems as if there is the possibility of some mixed weather conditions tomorrow and we will have to make the best of them and get what we can from the race."

 

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