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Michael Q&A: Williams will be just as strong at Spa 03 Aug 2010

Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, German Grand Prix, Practice Day, Hockenheim, Germany, Friday, 23 July 2010 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW32 leads team mate Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams FW32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, 1 August 2010 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Williams FW32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, 1 August 2010

While Red Bull won the race, Williams also had reason to celebrate in Hungary, with drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello both finishing in the top ten in Budapest. The impressive pace of the FW32 - and the team’s haul of nine points - have certainly put technical director Sam Michael in a buoyant mood ahead of the summer break. Michael discusses the Hungarian weekend and looks forward to the forthcoming Belgian race…

Q: Were you satisfied with the performance of the FW32 at the Hungaroring?
Sam Michael:
We are definitely making progress with the car, but we need to find a few more tenths if we are to regularly qualify in Q3.

Q: Hulkenberg made it into Q3 for the third time in four races, but he was a lot slower in Q3 than Q2. Why was that?
SM:
Nico wasn’t able to replicate the times he set in Q1 or Q2 mainly because he had limited grip.

Q: Sixth was Hulkenberg's best race result of the year. How impressive was his performance?
SM:
Nico drove a solid race. He was on the correct tyre given the safety car situation, which was a result of him qualifying well on Saturday.

Q: In hindsight, do you regret not pitting Barrichello for the option tyre when the safety car came out on Lap 15 of the race?
SM:
Not really, no. Our prime reason for not pitting Rubens when the safety car was deployed was to avoid doing 55 laps on the softer, option tyre which, at that stage, we didn't think would last for that amount of time. More importantly, if we had stacked both the cars in the pit lane, Nico would have significantly lost out. The strategy we chose maximised the points we collected.

Q: What are your thoughts on how Mercedes GP’s Michael Schumacher defended 10th position from Barrichello during the closing stages of the race?
SM:
From my perspective, Michael’s move just proved to everyone how completely committed Rubens is!

Q: There is a two-week factory shutdown during the summer break. Which weeks will Williams close its doors, and why?
SM:
We closed immediately after Sunday’s race. We start our shutdown straight away so we have the maximum time possible in which to prepare for Belgium when we return.

Q: The next race is Spa-Francorchamps. Are you confident that the FW32 will be competitive there?
SM:
Yes, the whole car package will be good there. We should be able to run inside the top ten, as we've been doing recently.