Williams write off Malaysian GP chances

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Despite Pastor Maldonado stating yesterday that Williams were close to finding the solution to the FW35’s problems, the team have failed to make any progress with the car during practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“We haven’t made the progress we had hoped for today,” explained technical director Mike Coughlan. “We need to look at the data we have from both sessions to maximize the package we have. We will then head straight back to the factory to work on some improvements ahead of Shanghai.”

The decision to write off their chances even before qualifying comes after a woeful performance in practice. In the second session, Maldonado could only finish 16th, whilst teammate Valtteri Bottas finished down in 19th behind the Marussia of Jules Bianchi. Although his technical director has little hope for the rest of the weekend, Maldonado is adamant he will keep pushing.

“We didn’t have the pace today unfortunately. We need to analyse the data tonight to see what we can do.

“We have a lot of work to do but we’ll be pushing hard to see what we can achieve tomorrow.”

Bottas, who finished in 14th place on debut in Australia, also acknowledged the need to improve if he is to vindicate his credentials as the new ‘Flying Finn’.

“We hope to find some improvements, but we know we still have a lot of work to do to close the gap.”

Williams will be disappointed with the FW35 after having a strong season in 2012, as they took their first victory in over seven years. They appear to have made a backward step, but if rain does fall in Malaysia, the British-based team could yet score some points this weekend.

Ticktum takes dramatic Macau GP win as leaders crash on last lap

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British youngster Dan Ticktum took a dramatic victory in the 64th Macau Grand Prix on Sunday after the leading two cars crashed out at the final corner on the last lap of the race.

In an incident-packed race that saw front-row starters Joel Eriksson and Callum Ilott clash early on amid a litany of Full Course Yellows, Brazilian racer Sergio Sette Camara was able to move into the lead ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Maximilian Günther.

Günther’s pace dropped off in the closing stages as he struggled to keep his tires alive, causing a train of cars to form up behind him including McLaren youngster Lando Norris and the Red Bull-backed Ticktum.

Ticktum pulled off a brilliant double-pass on Norris and Günther around the outside of Lisboa to move up to third, with Sette Camara and Habsburg dueling for position right the way to the finish.

Habsburg attempted a brave pass around the outside of the Mandarin kink, but was forced to wait until the penultimate straight before he got a tow and was able to pass for the lead.

Drama then struck when both Habsburg and Sette Camara ran wide and crashed into the wall exiting the final fast right-hander by their own accord, paving the way for Ticktum to charge through to victory.

Norris and Ralf Aron benefited from the crashes to score second and third place respectively, while Habsburg was able to get to the checkered flag in fourth on three wheels.