• Pastor Maldonado qualified 15th with Valtteri Bottas 16th for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
• Both drivers had a clean lap in Q1, with Pastor finishing fourth quickest, but both struggled with traffic on their final runs in Q2 which cost them time.
Xevi Pujolar, Chief Race Engineer: In FP3 we ran both cars with the development aero configuration tested on Friday, and Valtteri felt more confident in the car. Pastor struggled with lack of grip caused by the high track temperatures, which were over 50 degrees, but this improved with the cooler evening temperatures in qualifying. Q1 went well for us with both drivers putting together good laps despite it being difficult to manage the traffic whilst also keeping the tyres up to the optimum temperature. In Q2 I don’t feel we got the potential out of either car as both drivers were hampered by traffic, losing them a couple of tenths. Overall, we have reduced the gap in terms of time to the teams in front, and with our race pace looking consistent we will be pushing for a good result tomorrow.
Pastor Maldonado: I had a strong Q1 but in Q2 I struggled with traffic and wasn’t able to put a clean lap together, with the cars that crossed the line after me benefitted from the increased rubber on track. We have made some updates for this weekend and the car is feeling more consistent which will help us tomorrow in the race, and overall I feel that we have made a positive step forward.
Valtteri Bottas: I was expecting that we would be fighting for a place in Q3 so I’m a little disappointed. As the track conditions were improving other car’s times were dropping but we were not able to benefit from that extra grip as much. I was also held up by traffic on my final run which cost me a few tenths. It’s not the best place to start the race but we know that around this track we can be quite strong on long runs so I expect that we will be able to move up tomorrow.