Williams taking positives out of double Q1 exit

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Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams is trying to take the positives out of the team’s Q1 exit today in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, believing that the tight field is to blame for the result.

Twelve months ago, Pastor Maldonado started the race from pole position, but he could only qualify 18th today, one place behind teammate Valtteri Bottas. Although Williams is not pleased with the result, she does not believe that a crisis is ensuing.

“This isn’t quite 2012 is it?” Williams said to Sky Sports. “It is really disappointing.

“We are still trying to get on top of the situation and a lot of work is going on back at the factory. It takes a long time to turn things around in Formula 1,” she explained.

The result will come as a great blow to the team, especially after spending much of the three week break working on upgrades for the FW35, but Williams still has faith that the car is capable of some good results.

“I don’t think it is an inherently bad race car, it is just that the field is so tight at the minute and we were just a tenth away from getting both drivers into Q2.”

Bottas did finish just 0.042 seconds behind Esteban Gutierrez, yet the result is still a disastrous one for the team. Unlike McLaren, who are suffering from correlation issues, Williams have been struggling with their aerodynamic set up.

“I am not sure it is necessarily a correlation issue. We just really need to look at the aerodynamics of the car and it is a work in progress.”

Undoubtedly, there will be an inquiry into the team’s performance in qualifying today, although they will take hope from Bottas’ spirited race runs so far this season.

Josef Newgarden wins pole for Grand Prix of Alabama

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With time running off the clock, Josef Newgarden lapped Barber Motorsports Park with a speed of 122.773 mph to win his third career pole and first on this track in the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Newgarden was .0128 seconds faster than teammate Scott Dixon in second.

Newgarden has two previous wins at Barber. He won last year’s edition of this race after starting seventh and in 2015 from fifth.

“I didn’t know if that was going to be enough,” Newgarden said after winning the pole.

“Team Chevy has done a good job,” Newgarden said. “They’ve really given us good power this weekend – good driveability. We’re going to need some fuel mileage tomorrow, which I think we’ll have. But it’s going to get mixed up with the rain.”

Dixon’s lap of 122.750 mph was not quite enough.

“I’m sure you could pick out a number of different things on a lap when it’s that close,” Power said about what made the slight difference between him and Newgarden. “A little mistake out of 9; a little lift here or there.”

Sebastien Bourdais (122.605 mph) qualified third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.159) and James Hinchliffe (121.859) rounding out the top five.

Scott Dixon was the last driver in the top six.

Fast 12

Newgarden topped this chart with a speed of 123.475 mph.

He brought Power, James Hinchcliffe, Scott Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Sebastien Bourdais along with him to the Fast 6.

Marco Andretti (122.480), Alexander Rossi (122.216), Simon Pagenaud (122.050), Robert Wickens (122.042), Zach Veach (121.784) and Ed Jones (120.984) failed to advance.

Round 1, Group 1

Newgarden posted the fastest single lap in round one, group one of qualification for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.550 mph.

Hunter-Reay, Hinchcliffe, Wickens, and Andretti also advance to the fast 12.

Taking the final slot was Jones with a speed of 119.835 mph after an off-course excursion in final practice.

This was Andretti’s first advancement to the fast 12 for the first time since 2014.

Round 1, Group 2

Power had the fastest lap of 121.570 mph.

Bourdais, Veach (who is battling food poisoning-like symptoms), Rossi, and Pagenaud grabbed positions 2-4.

Scott Dixon had an uncharacteristically slow lap of 121.006, but managed to advance to the fast 12 when the session was red-flagged for an incident involving Tony Kanaan.

With three minutes remaining, Kanaan spun into the tire barriers while leaving pit road. Since he brought out the red flag, he lost his qualification time of 119.996 mph.

Takuma Sato had slipped off-course midway through the session and posted only the Ninth-fastest speed of 120.789 mph.