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Williams Duo Confident of Strong Race

Williams duo Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber are confident that they can build on their strong first qualifying performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix, after setting the fourth and sixth fastest times on Saturday

With their FW27 showing signs of continuing improvement, Webber had managed to top the times in the final free practice session on Saturday morning before the pair put in their strong performances in the afternoon.

And Heidfeld, fresh from his podium finish in the Malaysian Grand Prix, is confident that the car's speed is not just swift over one lap and that it can be strong throughout Sunday's race.

"I didn't make any mistakes on my qualifying lap and I have earned myself a good starting position for tomorrow's second qualifying," said the German. "After Mark was quickest this morning I thought we could really make it in to the top few positions for first qualifying.

"I know we have a good car and also our Michelin tyres have proved to be very consistent so far. Yesterday we achieved some good long runs and I think we can have a strong race tomorrow. It will be a tough one, because I cannot remember any race where it was so hot, really."

Webber added: "The track conditions changed significantly from the morning sessions and the circuit was much slower when I went out for my qualifying lap. It was very hot and a bit windy,  but still I put in a good lap.

"The team has done a very good job both in terms of providing new parts and by finding a good balance. The timing gap between the cars is very tight, which means that we cannot afford to make any mistakes in tomorrow's final qualifying.  We could then aim to achieve a very good grid position."

With the temperature in Bahrain already exceeding what was experienced at the Malaysian Grand Prix, Sunday's race is set to be one of the toughest of the season on cars, drivers and engines. Heidfeld, in particular, will be hoping for good fortune as he is the only driver on the grid who has not had a new engine fitted for this weekend.

Williams technical director Sam Michael was hopeful the team had done their homework in preparing themselves for the challenge that lies ahead.

"It was a good first qualifying from Mark and Nick who did not make any mistakes in difficult conditions," he said. "It looks like we are experiencing the hottest ambient temperatures we have ever raced in.

"Due to this reason, we have spent a lot of time in practice working on the cooling systems and strategy for the race. Now we have to finalise our grid positions in the second qualifying session and then we can look forward to the race."

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