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GP Week : Issue 168
32 GPWEEK.com // 32 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SINGAPORE A potential podium finish was swiped from Pastor Maldonado’s grasp in Singapore when his Williams FW34 developed a hydraulic issue. In echoes of Barcelona in May, Maldonado stunned everybody by qualifying on the front row of the grid alongside McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and one place ahead of defending Champion Sebastien Vettel, who was hotly tipped for pole after dominating the top of the times in free practice. The Venezuelan lost track position to Jenson Button away from the start but held on to third and was keeping pace with those around him until he was summoned into the pits to retire by his engineer, who had spotted a developing hydraulic problem. “Today was difficult,” said Maldonado. “The conditions were hard in the race as it was so hot and tyre degradation was high but we were managing well. “The start was ok but I ran a bit wide on cold tyres losing a couple of positions but then we got into a good rhythm. However, Maldonado remains upbeat about his prospects for the rest of the season, adding: “Our pace was looking strong, as we were expecting, but then we had a hydraulic problem and that was the end of our race. “I’m now confident for the next race as we have the potential to be fighting for victories and I hope to have a better race in Japan.” Amazingly, Maldonado’s retirement is his ninth consecutive non-score. He has failed to finish in the top 10 since May’s Spanish Grand Prix when he took a historic maiden Formula One win and the first for Frank Williams’ team since Juan Pablo Montoya eight years ago. MALDONADO’S WOES CONTINUE