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GP Week : Issue 188
Given an impressive start and level-headed display in Hungary, Pastor Maldonado had every reason to expect a similar showing in Belgium. But despite showing a modest improvement in performance, the fast sweeping nature of the Spa-Francorchamps Circuit exposed unresolved performance deficiencies in the Williams that left Maldonado frustrated and saw a return to his erratic ways. In qualifying, Maldonado overshot the chicane, snatching a left front as he grappled with a half wet/ half dry track. At one point the Venezuelan was as high as third and both Williams drivers were unlucky to finish Saturday in seventeenth and twentieth places. By the first lap of Sunday’s race, Maldonado had gained two places and had the Caterham of Giedo van der Garde well and truly in his sights, but the second stint on the hard tyre saw the Venezuelan racer’s performance drop dramatically before he played his part in causing one of the race’s biggest incidents while fighting the Sauber of Gutierrez and both Force Indias. “I had a good start and I immediately picked up a number of places,” explained Maldonado after the race. “But we struggled for pace and in the second stint I was not able to push and overtake the cars in front.” Maldonado ran wide after entering the final chicane alongside Gutierrez, but bailed out of the move and attempted to cut back in to the pits. By the time that decision had been made, however, Sutil had crossed the bow of the Williams, taking off part of Maldonado's front wing. As Maldonado accelerated towards the pits he collected the rear of di Resta's car, forcing the Scot’s retirement. The Venezuelan racer immediately pitted for a new front wing, but would have to make a return trip to the box after earning a 10 -second stop/go penalty for causing the incident with di Resta on lap 37. “I had a collision with di Resta in the final corner and our lines crossed as I was entering the pits,” said a circumspect Maldonado after the race. “It was a difficult situation because I was fighting hard with the Sauber and I didn’t see di Resta on the outside as I turned into the pit lane. I tried to brake to avoid the accident but it was too late.” Maldona-d'oh 33 GPWEEK.com // 33 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> BELGIUM