Within memory of him delivering the beleaguered team’s first victory for more than seven years, Williams has expressed disappointment in Pastor Maldonado.
After soaring from pole to victory in Barcelona, breakthrough winner Maldonado suffered an horror Monaco grand prix two weeks later. The Venezuelan was pushed ten places down the grid for apparently colliding deliberately with Sergio Perez in practice, and at the start of the race got caught up in the first lap chaos.
“The car was good enough for a P4 or P5 qualifying position and our race pace was also good so it is disappointing not to have come away from this event with a decent haul of points,” said Williams’ chief engineer Mark Gillan.
When asked about Maldonado’s crash with Perez, he insisted: “I think that the incident was avoidable and therefore disappointing and that the penalty was therefore understandable.”
And even in light of Maldonado’s Barcelona triumph, the Oxfordshire based team’s disappointment is also understandable, given the competitiveness of the Renault-powered FW34.
German magazine Auto Motor und Sport cited “GPS” evidence in claiming that the Williams and the Sauber are the best cars in the 2012 field when it comes to aerodynamics, based on data from Barcelona’s demanding turns 3 and 9. And at Monaco, Sauber’s Perez recorded not only the fastest lap of the race, but “for long periods he was the fastest driver on the track”.
“This clearly shows what we can achieve if everything goes right for us,” said the Swiss team’s boss. “Now it is up to the entire team to turn our opportunities into success.”
Journalist Michael Schmidt said: “With Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel or Lewis Hamilton in the cockpit, Williams or Sauber would probably be leading the championship.”
The pressure is high, therefore, on the surprise favourites’ drivers.
“The team (Williams) are looking forward to Montreal as we believe that we should be strong again, but we need to deliver in both qualifying and the race,” Gillan insisted.