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.

Wickens tops final Road America practice

Photo: IndyCar
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Robert Wickens showed the way in final practice for Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix, topping the speed charts with a quick time of 1:42.991, the only time below 1:43 during the session.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, and Graham Rahal completed the top five.

The lone incident of the session came right at the end, when Zach Veach went for a spin exiting Bill Mitchell Bend (turn 13). However, Veach did not suffer any damage in the incident.

Times are below. Qualifying begins at 4:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. local time) and will air on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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