Q & A with Sam Michael

Conducted and provided by Williams's press office.

Q & A with Sam Michael

Q. How would you sum up AT&T Williams' Belgian Grand Prix?

Sam Michael: Our car wasn't strong enough. Of course the gaps are very close, with our qualifying and race performance within 0.5 seconds of the fastest, but in the current competitive field that means being just inside the points.

Q. Nico ended Friday Practice 19th and finished eighth in the race. What caused this turnaround in performance?

SM: We really struggled during Friday practice. We changed a lot of the bodywork on the car for Saturday and the car improved.

Q. Your cars were slowest through the speed trap in qualifying, yet Nico also set the fastest time through sector 2. Please explain why this was the case.

SM: Our low drag performance is not strong enough. Sector 2 is predominantly about downforce and the FW31 has always been strong through sectors like that. Of course Nico did well to get the best out of it in qualifying and race.

Q. When Barrichello's engine started to smoke in the race, did Nico receive any messages from the pit wall?

SM: Yes. We told him to be careful in case Barrichello's engine was about to let go, but then we quickly noticed that his top speed and laptime was not that different so we assumed it was an oil tank problem rather than an engine issue.

Q. Your thoughts on Kazuki's race weekend?

SM: Kazuki struggled with the car during the weekend - and looking at how difficult it was for Nico to squeeze a point out of the race it wasn't too surprising. He's still pushing hard and he should have a strong finish to the season.

Q. Why was the tyre situation so critical for many of the teams at Spa?

SM: The two tyre compounds were quite close through Friday and Saturday. At Williams we favoured the prime tyre for the race, but in reviewing our choice post-race we perhaps could have been using the option tyre earlier as the car was most competitive on the softer rubber on Sunday.

Q. What can Williams do to ensure they are more competitive at Monza?

SM: We've got some work going on in the wind tunnel. We don't expect to be very competitive there, but we'll do our best to be respectable and look to returning to strong form for the final four races of the season that are in the traditional lift to drag region.

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