Williams’ first day without Sam Michael for ten years did not go well. Pastor Maldonado went off the track then came to a stop during first practice.
He pulled over again in the second session shortly after Rubens Barrichello had thrown his car into the barrier. The Brazilian driver had also lost time with a puncture in the first session.
Their weekend improved from there on but for the 12th time this year they failed to score.
|Rubens Barrichello||Pastor Maldonado|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q2)||1’33.079 (-0.145)||1’33.224|
Williams drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
|Pit stop 1||Soft 22.13s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 22.736s|
|Pit stop 3||Medium 21.89s|
Barrichello was pleased with late changes to his car between final practice and qualifying which allowed him to take 13th on the grid: “The car wasn?óÔé¼Ôäót behaving well in practice this morning so we changed almost everything on it before qualifying.
“Everyone did a great job turning it around in time. The changes really transformed the car and we pulled off a strong lap this afternoon.”
The team split strategies with Barrichello starting on softs, Maldonado on primes. Barrichello fell behind his team mate at the start but re-passed him on lap seven, Maldonado offering no resistance.
Barrichello had worked his way up to tenth by lap 24 when the safety car came out, which he felt was “bad timing”.
He fell back to 15th and lost more ground when he switched to medium tyres for his final stint, finishing a distant 17th.
|Pit stop 1||Medium 21.339s|
|Pit stop 2||Soft 21.075s|
|Pit stop 3||Soft 21.012s|
Having lost a lot of track time on Friday Maldonado lined up 14th on the grid.
He dropped back on medium tyres at the start of the race. The team originally planned to two-stop him but switched to a three-stop strategy when the safety car came out.
Maldonado passed Jaime Alguersuari on lap 33, dropped behind the Toro Rosso with his final pit stop, then recovered to pass him again on the final lap to finish 14th.
He said: “Towards the end of the race our pace was quick, I think possibly the quickest it?óÔé¼Ôäós been all weekend, but it was too late as we?óÔé¼Ôäód already lost out on a better finish in the opening laps.”
2011 Japanese Grand Prix
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Image ?é?® Williams/LAT