Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas remain hopeful of scoring points in tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix despite falling to their worst qualifying results of the season on Saturday.
Entering this weekend’s race, Williams expected to struggle given that its FW37 car is not suited to the tight and twisting nature of the Monaco street circuit.
However, few would have predicted that Bottas would drop out in the first stage of qualifying, posting a time that was only good enough for 17th place on the grid.
“I had some traffic on my initial option run and couldn’t go at the sort of pace needed to keep the tire temperatures correct, and on my timed lap I just lacked overall grip throughout the lap,” Bottas explained.
“We knew this track was not going to suit our car and we’ve been struggling to get the tires to work throughout the weekend. Then again this is the sort of track where lots of things can happen and if we stay out of trouble and finish the race then points are still possible.”
Although Felipe Massa was able to make it through to Q2, he went no further, dropping out of qualifying in 14th position.
“There were no major issues during qualifying that caused us to be out of position,” Massa said. “Monaco just isn’t a circuit that suits the characteristics of our car. We struggled throughout the day and found it hard to set the lap times we wanted.
“Tomorrow won’t be easy, but anything is possible due to the nature of the track. It’s not a great result as we have become used to qualifying higher, but I’m confident we can still get points and that must be our focus.”
Williams’ head of performance engineering Rob Smedley explained how the team had been significant progress in Monaco, and he hopes that this can continue in the race on Sunday.
“It was clearly a tough qualifying session for us and we are out of our usual position,” he said. “We have been pouring through the data all week to try and find ways to improve our pace here, and whilst we have made some in-roads, qualifying has just come too soon for us to recover everything.
“Starting 14th and 17th in Monaco is never ideal because it so difficult to overtake, but we will see what we can do and the aim will be to get both cars home in the points.”
F1 Countdown for the Monaco Grand Prix is live on NBCSN from 7am on Sunday, before switching over to NBC at 7:30am ET for the race.