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.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski