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Maldonado stuns with superb qualifying display

The sound of jaws dropping to the floor was audible in qualifying during the Spanish Grand Prix, as Pastor Maldonado continued to put in lap after stunning lap at the top of the timesheets.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton might have ended up with a dominant pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix after qualifying in Barcelona at the Circuit de Catalunya, but the real star of the hour-long session was surely Williams' Pastor Maldonado who came close to pulling off a shock upset.

"Pastor's qualifying performance was stunning today," said Williams' chief operations officer Mark Gillan succinctly, hailing "a collection of very strong laps" by Maldonado.

And the man himself insisted that his strong performance on Saturday afternoon had come as no surprise to him, at least.

"I think yesterday we were thinking about top ten, it was possible," said the Venezuelan after claiming second place on the grid at the end of Q3. "This morning I was quite surprised about our performance because the car was so quick with lower fuel. This morning it was possible.

"We have been working so hard all year to understand these tyres and with the updates we have brought to this race we have made a very good step forward," he continued. "The car is very consistent and its race pace is good so I am really looking forward to the race tomorrow. There has been a really positive atmosphere in the team all season and this is a great result for them."

"To finish P2 is a great boost for the whole team and gives us a very good position from which to push hard in the race for decent points," added Gillan. "And hopefully a further belated 70th birthday present for Frank!"

Maldonado could even end up starting from pole position, if the race stewards rule that Hamilton's pole position time is to be deleted after the McLaren came to a stop on its post-qualifying in-lap, reportedly because of underfuelling.

In stark contrast to the euphoria on Maldonado's side of the garage, there was deep gloom for Bruno Senna after the Brazilian spun out late in Q1 and failed to make it through the first round of qualifying.

"It was a disappointing qualifying for me," agreed Senna. "I had back luck with traffic when on the soft tyre. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow if I want to score any points."

Senna is already under pressure in the team, after he lost running in most of the Friday morning practice sessions in favour of the team's third driver Valtteri Bottas, who has been putting in some strong showings in Senna's car already this season. He was particularly strong on Friday, finishing with the fifth fastest time of FP1 on a track he knows well from racing in other series.

Senna by contrast concluded the afternoon FP2 session in 18th place - the same as his grid position for the Grand Prix. However, Senna was determined to remain optimistic.

"I have had good races from the back before, he said. "And our car is looking competitive this weekend!"

"It is obviously disappointing for Bruno to have crashed out of Q1 but we expect the race pace to be strong, agreed Gillan. "Points are still possible from P18."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
11.05.2012- Free Practice 2, Sir Frank Williams(gbr),Team Principal Williams F1 Team
11.05.2012- Free Practice 2, Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW34
11.05.2012- Free Practice 1, Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW34
11.05.2012- Free Practice 2, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams F1 Team FW34
26.03.2017 - Race, Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Sauber C36 and Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
26.03.2017 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
26.03.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
26.03.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
26.03.2017 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
26.03.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
26.03.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
26.03.2017 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
26.03.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40 and Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Sauber C36
26.03.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
26.03.2017 - Race, Start of the race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-17 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40
26.03.2017 - Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
26.03.2017 - Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB13 and Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
26.03.2017 - Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW40

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May 12, 2012 9:55 PM

Great POLE POSITION by Maldonado, always had a bit of a soft spot for him, he shows more talent than many give him credit for. This kind of makes up for Lulu ruining his chances of a great points finish in Monaco last year and the trouble caused by Lulu in Spa. Great to see the FiA got things right for a change and rightfully penalised McLaren for their deviousness, It would have been a travesty if Maldonado was denied his first pole position due to McLaren and Lulu cheating again. Happy birthday Sir Frank, a well deserved pole.


May 13, 2012 1:19 AM

The stewards should have thrown mclaren out of the race and not penalize them with a grid position penalty for the second time as this is a repeat offence of the same subject, that’s apart from the now acquired habit of taking a risk of repeating an offence hoping the FIA will close both eyes like in the overtake in Bahrain.

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