Pastor Maldonado battled hard at Spa-Francorchamps to become the first Venezuelan to score a world championship point since Johnny Cecotto in 1983. Wet conditions on Friday and Saturday gave the teams next to no dry running ahead of the race and AT&T Williams dealt with the situation better than most. Here, Technical Director Sam Michael sums up the team’s Belgian Grand Prix weekend.
Sam Michael, Technical Director:
Q: Pastor scored his first world championship point at Spa. Can you sum up his performance?
SM: Pastor drove well to come through from 21st to 10th in Belgium. At some stages he was further up the order but he was hurt by the safety car as he had just pitted. Overall he did a great job.
Q: Pastor came together with Lewis Hamilton in qualifying. What was your reaction to his five-place grid penalty?
SM: I understand the penalty applied by the stewards of the meeting and respect it.
Q: How did the lack of dry running on Friday and Saturday affect the team’s race preparations?
SM: It meant that it was tricky to get answers on the aero comparisons we did. There was also no tyre degradation data. However, it was the same for everyone.
Q: Did the FW33 suffer from excessive tyre wear in dry conditions, like many other teams?
SM: No. We did have some blistering, particularly on Pastor’s car, but it was entirely manageable.
Q: The team took lots of aero upgrades to Spa. How did they perform?
SM: All our upgrades performed well.
Q: Rubens set the third fastest lap of the race. Does that give you confidence going forward?
SM: His lap was set with just two laps of the race remaining and with a fresh set of tyres. I was more encouraged by the race performance that was on average 0.7s/lap off the race winner, and at some stages during the race we were lapping on the same pace as the top cars.
Q: Monza comes next. How do you expect the FW33 to perform at the Italian Grand Prix?
SM: It will be similar to Spa-Francorchamps with the low drag / higher downforce trade-off on the rear wing level.