September 20th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Williams's tough 2013 season continues in Singapore, where Friday practice times suggest Valtteri Bottas and Pastor Malaonado will struggle to compete for points in Sunday's race. Bottas set the 17th fastest time on Friday, 3.185 seconds off the front-running pace of Sebastian Vettel. Maldonado was 18th, just over three tenths of a second behind his team-mate.
Although the Williams drivers are clearly struggling for pace, neither Bottas nor Maldonado highlighted any major problems with the car, which suggests that their weekend is not likely to get much better. It was Bottas's first experience of the Singapore street circuit, but he was quickly up to speed in FP1. Bottas said after FP2:
"I didn't have any big problems learning the track and I really enjoyed driving it. It's quite a tricky circuit, to putting one lap together will be a big challenge for qualifying tomorrow. Looking at the pace we have, particularly in FP2, there's still more for us to do and we need to work hard tonight to improve for tomorrow."
Pastor Maldonado started last year's Singapore Grand Prix from the front row of the grid after a stunning qualifying performance. It seems unlikely, barring changeable weather conditions, that he will repeat that feat this weekend given the pace of the Williams car. Maldonado was the only driver to do any meaningful damage to his car during Friday practice, when he locked up under braking, ran onto the dirty part of the track and gently bumped the wall, damaging his front wing. He was able to continue and did not lose much time. Maldonado commented after the day's proceedings:
"We completed the planned runs today but we still don't have the pace in the car. We need to try to improve in all areas this weekend and it will be tough with the heat. We need to address some of the issues with the balance of the car in order to have a good race."