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Maldonado: Williams is off the pace

NEWS STORY
22/03/2013

Mat Coch writes:

Dismissed at the time as driver frustration, Pastor Maldonado's outburst in Australia is beginning to be seen in a new light.

In Australia, Maldonado claimed his new car was un-driveable, claims which at the time were viewed with scepticism due to the changeable weather conditions. Surely the Venezuelan was simply caught out by the difficult conditions, we thought.

In Malaysia both Maldonado and teammate Valtteri Bottas struggled during the opening day of practice. Though someway further forward than one would imagine an 'un-driveable' car to be the team is some way short of the pace many expected of it.

"We know very well what is happening in the car," Maldonado confessed. "We don't know how to solve the problems. We try different things, we improved a little bit, but there's still a long way to go."

Unsurprisingly part of the problem is the tyres, the Williams burning them up particularly quickly. "The prime tyres are very sensitive," he explained. "Two laps and then you are like a second away from the pace.

"There are some cars that manage better the tyres and that can make the difference even if they are not the quickest one on the track."

Hotter conditions in Malaysia should suit the Williams Maldonado believes, while he holds out hope that a strong showing in qualifying and rain on Sunday may yet spring a surprise result.

"We will improve a little bit more during the qualifying because normally in quali the car is going a little bit better," he said. "But still far away from the target."

Maldonado was twelfth fastest in opening practice, 1.7 seconds off the pace of Mark Webber's Red Bull. In the afternoon session he could manage no better than sixteenth, 2.2 seconds adrift of Kimi Raikkonen.

Check out our Friday gallery, here.

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