It was confirmed that both Williams drivers were hampered by an engine software problem during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Despite having good pace in the final practice session on Saturday morning, getting as high as fourth, Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa slipped back to eighth and tenth in qualifying, behind their nearest rivals Force India who have showed they are able to preserve their tyres well over the long circuit.
Williams’ Rob Smedley confirmed the news on Saturday afternoon, “Qualifying was disappointing for us. We had a software issue with the power unit which meant that we weren’t able to run qualifying mode, so we lost lap time there.
“Without that we would have been around fifth position. It unfortunately put us on the back foot in Q1, after we discovered it on our first run and had to react accordingly. Most of our efforts were then focused on trying to resolve the issue rather than making our car go quicker, so it’s somewhat ruined our qualifying.
“Apart from that, the cars were reasonably well balanced.
“Going into the session we knew it was going to be tight with Force India, but we had a little bit of a margin on them so it’s a shame not to be ahead. We’ve all got to pick ourselves up now, accept that these things are part of motor racing, and look forward to tomorrow.
“The long runs we were doing both yesterday and this morning were very encouraging. We just need to make sure we get everything right tomorrow and outscore those around us in the championship.”