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Sam Michael Q&A: Monaco was bittersweet for Williams 31 May 2011

Sam Michael (AUS) Williams Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Suzuka, Japan, Friday, 8 October 2010 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 29 May 2011 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/26 crashes with Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW33.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 29 May 2011 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW33. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Race, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Sunday, 29 May 2011 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW33. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 28 May 2011

Rubens Barrichello may have scored Williams their first points of 2011 in Monaco, but the British team could have celebrated a double points finish had it not been for a late collision between driver Pastor Maldonado and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton. Despite the disappointment, technical director Sam Michael was pleased with progress and is confident upgrades on the FW33 could see the team make even greater strides in Montreal next month…

Q: Williams scored its first points of 2011 at Monaco. How much of a relief was that to you and the team?
Sam Michael:
It was great for everyone involved to get some points on the board and we must thank Rubens for bringing home our first of the season. It was however, somewhat bittersweet because Pastor was looking good for a big points haul. Rubens as well was perhaps looking good for an even better result but the first safety car came out and damaged his position significantly. You can see this from the number of cars that were running behind him that ended up in the top five after the safety car. Monaco is normally a lottery in that respect so to come away with some points is a good result for the whole team.

Q: Were you pleased with the pace of the FW33 through the streets of the Principality?
SM:
Yes, the FW33 was performing well. In the race, I was particularly impressed at the speed we had on the same age of tyres as the top cars. For sure there is still a lot of work to do but we are heading in the right direction.

Q: How would you sum up the performance of Pastor Maldonado, who qualified in the top 10 for the second consecutive race and looked set for his first Formula One points?
SM:
His performance was nothing short of excellent. His two engineers Xevi Pujolar and Andrew Murdoch also did a great job. Their efforts really helped us make the right tyre and strategy decisions and Pastor pushed hard in the race when it mattered.

Q: What is your view on Maldonado’s race-ending accident with Lewis Hamilton?
SM:
It was a racing incident.

Q: Pirelli used its super-soft tyre for the first time this year. How did it hold up in the race?
SM:
The wear life wasn’t as strong as we predicted from practice, but it was still good in the race. It would have been marginal for a one stop without the safety cars, so it looks like a two stop strategy was optimum.

Q: The next race on the calendar is Montreal. What are your hopes for the FW33 on such a low-downforce track?
SM:
Every circuit has been different this year, but with the improvements we have coming to the FW33 next weekend we should be competitive.

Q: There will be two DRS zones at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Do you expect the DRS to be effective in low downforce trim?
SM:
Most definitely. I think the way the FIA are controlling the DRS is perfect. Charlie Whiting is evaluating it race by race and adjusting it to suit each circuit.

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