The Williams team has achieved its first dry-weather Q3 appearance for both its drivers this season, with Nico Hülkenberg and Rubens Barrichello posting identical fastest times to line up eighth and ninth on the grid for the European Grand Prix.
This marks an unheralded result for the team this season, with the Cosworth-powered FW32 generally found wanting on the circuits the F1 circus has visited so far this season. Perhaps the nature of the Valencia track suits the chassis, or perhaps it’s down the major modifications made to the car of late, including the ‘F-duct’ fitted to Barrichello’s car this weekend.
Nonetheless, the team was justifiably thrilled with the result, and will be confident it can achieve a healthy haul of points in the race, with the team currently sitting a lowly seventh in the Constructors’ Championship standings, tied with Toro Rosso on eight points.
Despite setting identical times, Hülkenberg will start ahead of his Brazilian team-mate by dint of posting the laptime first. What is more interesting is that Hülkenberg – the reigning GP2 champion – is not running the Williams team’s iteration of the ‘F-duct’ as he is too tall for his knees to be able to activate it and make it work properly!
“No-one expected me to be ahead of Rubens today because he’s been quicker than me all weekend – somehow, I pulled out a good lap in Q3 … We’re obviously happy that we have both cars in the top ten, which was the aim. Hopefully we’ll have a good race and get some points tomorrow.”
Added Barrichello: “It was a good qualifying session for the team. “Ninth is a strong position to be starting from but I could have done better than that if it weren’t for a problem with brake warm-up in Q3.”
[Original image via Sutton Images]