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GP Week : Issue 153
Williams’ Pastor Maldonado produced the drive of his life to notch up his very first F1 victory in only his second season of F1 and end an eight-year winning drought for the legendary British team. Despite starting from pole – after inheriting it from the disqualified Hamilton – Maldonado had to fight back from second to win, driving faultlessly under intense pressure from double world champion Fernando Alonso in the final 20 laps of the race. Even though he launched off the line well, Maldonado was quickly caught and passed by Alonso into turn 1, as the Spaniard took the lead of his home race for the second year in a row. Maldonado was unable to find a way by during the first round of stops when the pair pitted on laps 10 and 11 respectively, but a brave move to pit earlier second time around allowed the Venezuelan to build a healthy cushion to ensure Alonso re-emerged behind when he pitted. A slow final pitstop allowed Alonso to close right up on the Williams for the final stint, but even with the benefits of DRS the Ferrari couldn’t pass and Maldonado took a sensational victory with three seconds to spare at the flag. It was Williams first win since the 2004 Brazilian GP. “It’s a wonderful day, not just for me but for all the team,” Maldonado said after the race. “We have been pushing so hard since last year to try to improve race by race and here we are. Yesterday we were here after a great qualifying and today we did it again. It was a tough race especially because of the rear tyres – after a couple of laps we were struggling. “I need to say I’m pretty happy because the car was so competitive since the first lap. Fernando did a better start than me but I was just following the pace and it was so great. It’s my first podium and my first victory and you can imagine what I feel.” He also admitted to not pushing too much while being pursued by Alonso during the final stint and was able to take advantage of his car’s superior traction to ensure the Ferrari remained behind. “When Fernando got close I was looking after the tyres, I didn’t push that much, just because the tyre degradation was so big,” he continued. “We did an extremely good strategy today, everything was under control. Even some moments when Fernando got too close we had a little bit better traction than him, using KERS and everything.” 'PASTA' DELIVERS FIRST WILLIAMS WIN IN 132 GRANDS PRIX 26 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SPAIN