Season review: Williams


Constructors’ Championship: 8th
Points: 76


Pastor Maldonado
Points: 45
Best qualifying: 2nd (promoted to pole in Spain after Hamilton’s fuel problem)
Best race result: 1st

Bruno Senna
Points: 31
Best qualifying: 9th
Best race result: 6th


  • It doesn’t get any better than Maldonado’s win and pole position in Spain on the weekend of Frank Williams’ 70th birthday.
  • His front-row qualifying effort in Singapore, which would have produced another great result if it wasn’t for hydraulic failure.

Pastor Maldonado’s Grand Prix season reads like the race results of a supercharged 1948 Simca Gordini: retired, 1st, retired…

It’s says quite a lot that the Venezuelan managed to pick up 25 points for his win in Spain – which was sublime – but then only beat his team-mate Senna by 14 points over the year. The Brazilian only qualified in the top 10 on two occasions.

The first race in Australia, when he crashed out while pressuring Alonso for fifth position, seems to have been a good marker of how things would continue: consistently excellent pace interspersed with big mistakes and many (not always deserved) penalties.

A lesser man would have given up on a weekend like he had in Bahrain – when he had a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change and a KERS failure, which left him 21st on the grid. However, he got past six cars on the first lap and was going strongly, despite some criticism from di Resta about weaving, until he got a puncture and suspension damage that would end his race. You get the impression that the frequent comments from the media about his fiery driving style and magnetism to the stewards have little to no effect on him, which is how it should be. You can always tidy up speed, but you can’t speed up tidiness as they say.

Senna had similar bad luck to Maldonado with various car problems. However, what sealed his fate was that when his team-mate was busy having the best Grand Prix weekend of his career, and securing Williams’ first win since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix, Senna spun off in qualifying and then got rear-ended by Schumacher in the race.

It wasn’t all bad, though, as the race pace he showed in Malaysia, when he drove from last to sixth, was brilliant. There were many other weekends when he was quick in the races, but poor qualifying let him down throughout the season. The fact that his 2013 replacement Valtteri Bottas was in the car on Friday mornings certainly didn’t help, but that stopped being a valid excuse after a handful of races. Senna’s one of the most liked men in the paddock, and rightly so, but unless he can get a seat at Caterham or Force India (which he may well do) for 2013 the F1 dream may be over.

As for Williams – what a relief after the 2011 season and its paltry five points. Let’s hope that the team can continue to move up the grid. To do that, though, it will need Maldonado to start capitalising on his speed and Bottas to deliver on his potential.

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