By Alan Baldwin
MONACO (Reuters) - Williams said the tight and twisty Monaco street circuit just did not suit their Formula One car's characteristics after Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas endured a difficult Saturday qualifying.
Finnish driver Bottas failed to get through the first phase and ended up in 17th place while Brazilian Massa was only 14th fastest for a Mercedes-powered team currently in third place overall.
Both will move up a place, however, after Spaniard Carlos Sainz's Toro Rosso was demoted from eighth to the pitlane for missing a weight inspection.
"We have been poring through the data all week to try and find ways to improve our pace here, and whilst we have made some in-roads, qualifying has just come too soon for us to recover everything," said head of performance engineering Rob Smedley.
Massa said there had been no major issues during qualifying on a track where traffic can make it hard to get in a clean lap or overtake.
"Monaco just isn’t a circuit that suits the characteristics of our car," he explained. "We struggled throughout the day and found it hard to set the lap times we wanted."
Bottas, who might normally expect to be challenging for the podium but will now have a battle to score points on Sunday, said he was slowed by traffic and could not keep heat in the tyres.
"On my timed lap I just lacked overall grip throughout the lap. We knew this track was not going to suit our car and we’ve been struggling to get the tyres to work throughout the weekend," he explained.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)