Maldonado believes car is ‘undriveable’

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Williams driver Pastor Maldonado has labelled his car as being “undriveable” following his Q1 exit in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

“The car is undriveable at the moment and we need to work. That’s it.

“I think we’re back to the condition of two years ago in the team. We need to work very hard to solve the problems.”

Maldonado finished seventeenth in the first qualifying session as he struggled in the wet conditions. The session was delayed by thirty minutes due to the wet weather before the drivers were eventually allowed out on track.

Conditions improved throughout the session with the drivers setting their quickest times on the intermediate tire. For Maldonado though, the wet weather only added to his struggles.

“For whatever reason, we didn’t adapt our car to this track, whatever the conditions. In the wet we were slow, in the dry as well.

“The pace for tomorrow seems to be much better but qualifying pace is really bad.”

Valtteri Bottas did manage to get into Q2 by three-tenths, and he will be pleased with his pace in the wet conditions. He was the only rookie driver to get through the first session, and beating teammate Maldonado on debut is a fine achievement. This is the first time since the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix that Maldonado has been eliminated in Q1.

The completion of qualifying has been delayed until tomorrow morning due to the adverse weather conditions.

NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.