Pastor Maldonado believes that he was “unlucky” to miss out on Q3 after a rain shower midway through Q2 ruined his chances of making the final qualifying session.
“We were unlucky with the timing of the rain in Q2,” explained Maldonado. “We were forced to abort the lap.”
Maldonado did not post a time in Q2, meaning that he will start P16 tomorrow just ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas who qualified 18th. Despite technical director Mike Coughlan writing off Williams’ chances in Malaysia, the Venezuelan driver was pleased with the progress the team had made.
“The car felt better on track and there was a chance we could have been fighting to get into Q3. We still have work to do to improve the car and close the gap, but we will work hard now to prepare for the race tomorrow.”
Valtteri Bottas has set his sights on improving his grid position in the race tomorrow, believing that his long-run pace will see him make up for the Q1 exit on Saturday.
“It was disappointing not to get through into Q2 today, especially after we felt the car had improved since last week. The lap times were tight at the end so we just missed out on Q2, but our long-run pace will mean we will be aiming to gain some places from our grid position tomorrow.”
Williams did show signs of improvement in qualifying today, but with the front-runners so closely matched, the team could face a struggle to score any points in Malaysia.