After a near perfect weekend in China Williams hopes for a good results were shattered this weekend by a double retirement.
Pastor Maldonado and Bruno Senna were unable to make it to the chequered flag in Bahrain after having a really though weekend where the Williams F1 Team struggled for pace on all days. Problems hit the Grove base outfit even before qualifying as Pastor Maldonado received a five grid penalty for a gearbox change. In the end the PDVSA sponsored driver qualified 21st after he decided not to run in Q2 to save tyres while Senna frustrated by not running on Friday 1st Practice only managed to qualify 15th.
Both drivers were fighting hard and making up places at the beginning of the race but Pastor Maldonado only made to lap 25 when he got a puncture and spun violently in turn 3. Ha was able to bring the car home but retired from the race. Bruno Senna almost finished the race when in closing laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix he started to feel strange vibrations in his brake pedal and because the vibration were getting worse with any passing lap the team was force to retire the car due to safety concerns.
Laurent Debout, Renault Sport F1 team support leader said: “It was a shame that we could not get some points in the 150th race for Williams-Renault. We introduced some new settings this race to improve driveability and the drivers were happy with the balance. Pastor’s pace in the first part of the race was good, but from the starting positions it was always going to be hard to make up positions. All the same we’ve now got some time before the next race to look at everything in detail and improve next time out.”
Williams remains 7th in the constructor championship with a 13 points gap to the closest rival Sauber who runs in 6th and it was also unable to score any points in the desert held Grand Prix.
Here are the drivers and Chief Operations Engineer feelings about this bad weekend:
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: Both cars had good starts gaining quite a few positions by the end of the first lap. Pastor’s first stint of the race was decent but unfortunately he spun on lap 25 due to a problem on the left-rear of the car, which forced us to retire him from the race. We are still investigating this problem. Bruno was running in the mid-field for the majority of the race, but a few laps from the finish he complained of a worsening problem with the handling of the car and we took the difficult decision to retire his car too. As a team we now need to regroup and keep pushing in preparation for both the Mugello test and forthcoming Barcelona race.
Bruno Senna: We did everything right on the first lap but unfortunately I was struggling to keep the pace to the cars in front. I think we were quite aggressive with the set-up today but sometimes you don’t get it right. Towards the end I started feeling a lot of vibration in the brake pedal. The engineers were looking at it, so I kept pushing as you never know what will happen, but the vibration got worse and the decision was made to pit to avoid risking an accident. It’s disappointing after two points finishes, but it’s a long season.
Pastor Maldonado: I had a puncture in the exit of Turn 1 and then spun on the straight. I’m disappointed for the team as the performance was there. Starting from the back of the pack I was fighting every lap. The car was responding well and I was able to make up many positions. I feel today we could have scored more points but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
Sources: Williams F1 Team/ LAT Photographic