'We could have been in Q3' – Maldonado
23 March 2013 – Pastor Maldonado believes he could have fought for a place in Q3 if conditions had remained dry throughout Saturday's qualifying hour at Sepang. The Williams driver, who is certain that his team has taken a step forward with its FW35, was knocked out of Q2 for the second weekend in a row and had to settle for 16th on the grid.
"We were unlucky with the timing of the rain in Q2 which meant we were forced to abort the lap," said Maldonado, who was the only driver not to post a Q2 time. "The car felt better on-track and there was a chance we could have been fighting to get into Q3.
"We still have work to do to improve the car and close the gap, but we will work hard to prepare for the race."
In the second Williams, Valtteri Bottas wound up 18th after missing the cut for Q2, with the Medium compound tyre not offering the Finn the grip levels he had expected.
"It was disappointing not to get through into Q2 today, especially after we felt the car had improved since last week," Bottas explained after his early exit. "The Prime tyre run felt good with the car responding well.
"We expected a much bigger gain from the Medium compound but we didn’t get any extra grip. The lap times were tight at the end so we just missed out on Q2, but our long-run pace means we will be aiming to gain some places tomorrow."
In 2012, Williams secured its first points finish of the season at Sepang, with Maldonado rising from 11th on the grid to take the chequered flag in sixth place.