Podium possible before KERS failure – Williams

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Williams believe Pastor Maldonado could have finished on the podium had his KERS not failed during the first safety car period.

Chief operations engineer Mark Gillan said: “We are delighted to get 14 points and have both cars home in the points, but also equally frustrated as without the KERS failure, which occurred after the first safety car period, Pastor could have come home with much more and a podium was certainly achievable.”

Maldonado briefly held second place after Lewis Hamilton’s retired but struggled to defend his position without KERS.

“When you are running in clean air and without anyone trying to overtake you losing KERS is typically a few tenths penalty in lap time,” said Gillan. “However without KERS you are very vulnerable to being overtaken by someone with both DRS and KERS, so Pastor was having to defend his position hard and this was costing him a lot of lap time.”

Gillan added the team’s choice of a set-up which offered better straight-line speed helped Maldonado: “We tried higher downforce levels but felt that our choice was optimal for the race without compromising qualifying. Pastor’s fourth quickest laptime in qualifying, coupled with our strong long run pace tends to support that view.

“The straight-line speed advantage also helped both drivers defend and attack throughout the race, although without KERS Pastor was primarily in defence mode.”

Both cars finished in the points for only the second time this year. Maldonado took fifth and Bruno Senna claimed eighth following a collision with Nico Hulkenberg at the first corner.

“The left hand side of Bruno’s car took a reasonably hard impact, which damaged a number of our sensors and also the bodywork,” said Gillan. “The car stood up well to the impact and Bruno’s pace was very good, although we had less live telemetry data on which to monitor the car’s performance during the race.”

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Podium possible before KERS failure – Williams”

  1. I remember watching the race and thinking, whats a Williams doing so high up the field? Great weekend for them and I hope that now, finally, they can rebuild sufficiently so they can be up towards the front more often. Nothing pains me more than seeing them making up the numbers.

  2. I believe them.

  3. Podium was also possible for Hamilton before his failure.

  4. Maldonado was fighting Alonso for the podium while Senna was fighting Di Resta for 9th…

  5. I think Maldonado podium was not possible because the greatest driver named VET was storming from behind. In the end, MAL is no match to VET. LOL.

    1. Maldonado, who has wasted tonnes of chances for good results in that car, is no match to ANY of the top drivers.

      1. Oh is he? But I’m NOT so sure if VET will beat MAL if they are lapping in the same car.

        1. @leotef – Oh, yeah, the same Maldonado that is 14th in the championship in the Williams, has 2 top 5 finishes in his career and has thrown away more points than almost any other driver on the grid? Don’t make me laugh.

          1. @David-A, I know what you are talking about. For sure. But they are still young with 5-10 odds of years to go. I’d rather not make a terminal judgement here based on what he’s done in the short past but lean forward based on his potentials. In terms of raw speed, he could be well within the top guns I think.

          2. @leotef – Okay, I must’ve taken it that you were having a dig at Vettel (who I think was far better and more consistent in ’08 than Maldo in ’12). I assume you were mostly praising Maldonado as a real future star.

            To be fair, while he has a bad reputation for all the incidents he’s played a part in, he has a lot of raw speed, and hasn’t really done much wrong since Spa, so while he can’t be currently rated too high, the potential is surely there.

          3. MAL is fast! He will surely outqualify the guy named JB if he will race for McLaren. :)

  6. I like Maldonado. His raw speed is awesome but he does not have the mental toughness. maybe because he is too young and eager to show his potential or under pressure as he is a pay driver and if he doesnt perform well, his sponsors may not back him. But he must stay in F1 becasue he is better than all the young drivers out there.

    1. Maybe still early to make definitive call on him. But indeed his attitude toward racing has noticeably changed since SPA and I see him well composed from attack behind. So not so sure he is mentally weak in this regard, though Checko does seem to be cracking down.
      Well, of course he already has raw speed to match top guns I think and I agree that he remains in F1 or further, to have chance to get a better car in a year or two.

    2. That’s got nothing to do with this article though!

  7. I believe Williams here. Pastor’s top speed was awesome!

    But I am more impressed with Maldonado here. Due to the KERS failure, a lot of drivers got a run on him and they went side by side multiple times but he did not try any idiotic aggressive move and was involved in only one incident which was also the fault of the other driver – Webber. Since Romain’s Spa penalty, he has not put a foot wrong.

    If the Williams car is as fast in 2013 and a little more reliable, I think Pastor will have a mega-season then.

  8. Pastor is really becoming a bit of a gem in qualifying. He’s beating Bruno most of the time, and usually by quite a bit. In the races I think Bruno has slightly better race craft, but Maldonado has really sorted out his early 2012 kamikaze style driving in the last few races. I think if Williams continue to work with him on his attitude he could really do well. Plus, lets not forget, he already won a race this year! I used to dislike Maldonado quite a lot, as a Williams fan, but I’m starting to warm to him a little :)

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