Senna hoping for a wet British GP debut

LONDON Wed Jul 4, 2012 5:59pm EDT

Williams Formula One driver Bruno Senna of Brazil stands outside his team garage during the first practice session of the Spanish F1 Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, near Barcelona, May 11, 2012. REUTERS/Felix Ordonez

Williams Formula One driver Bruno Senna of Brazil stands outside his team garage during the first practice session of the Spanish F1 Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelo, near Barcelona, May 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Felix Ordonez

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LONDON (Reuters) - Bruno Senna will celebrate a number of firsts at Silverstone this Sunday but probably not the one he wants more than any other.

The Brazilian, nephew of the late triple champion Ayrton, will start a British Formula One Grand Prix for the first time and also become the first Senna to drive a Williams in the team's home race.

Ayrton, winner at Silverstone in 1988 with McLaren, died in a Williams in 1994 in only his third race for the former champions.

The first Bruno really wants is on the results sheet and that looked an impossible dream at the start of the season. The success of Venezuelan team mate Pastor Maldonado in the Spanish Grand Prix from pole position in May changed everything.

"Of course there's something I really want which is to win a race," he told Reuters, one of the team's sponsors, at their London headquarters on Wednesday.

"But we have to be patient. It's Pastor's second season and he had the whole of last year to learn, to make mistakes and to develop himself. And he's very well integrated with the team and his engineer.

"It's difficult to see from the outside just how important that really is."

Senna entered Formula One in 2010 with the struggling Spanish HRT team but had to sit out the British Grand Prix that year to make way for well-funded Japanese Sakon Yamamoto.

In 2011, he was a reserve at Renault and only got his chance to race from the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August when Germany's Nick Heidfeld was dropped.

He has had some good races this season with Williams, including a sixth place from 23rd on the grid in a wet Malaysia in March and a seventh in China. He has scored in four of his eight starts this year.

Maldonado has nonetheless out-scored him 29 points to 16.

GOOD CAR

"When you know you have a good car, and we know we have a good car, it's always a question of knowing how to pace yourself during the weekend. Like Pastor did. He just pushed as hard as he could and he reaped the benefit," said Senna.

"Hopefully we can have a good strong weekend and then get onto the podium and deep into the top 10 and get some strong points. That's what really matters. I think a race win in my first full season would be the dream come true but for the moment I'm very happy with scoring points."

Silverstone, a high-speed circuit he last raced on in 2008 before changes to the layout, offers him a good opportunity to show off his talents - particularly in the wet. Williams could be dark horses on the day.

"I think our car responds very well to lower track temperatures so Silverstone will be like that, considering that the weather is always a bit colder here even in the summer and there is also the chance of rain looming over the whole weekend," said Senna.

"Whenever it's raining it's good news for me...in the wet you can kind of take over."

In the heat of Valencia last month, Senna was caught in a collision with Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, suffered a puncture, spun, was handed a drive-through penalty and still collected a point with 10th place.

The thought of what might have been still rankles for a driver whose place at the team beyond this season is far from certain, with highly-rated Finnish tester Valtteri Bottas waiting in the wings.

"Considering where I was just before I got into the incident with Kamui, we could have finished on the podium which is very upsetting," said Senna.

"It's really upsetting to have (lost) the chance of finishing on the podium for the first time but it's only ifs and buts. When I get the car to the podium then I can be satisfied."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by John Mehaffey)

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