Spanish Grand Prix winner Pastor Maldonado is, quite understandably, enjoying his second season in the top flight, and compared this year's F1 competition to the feeder series from which he graduated in 2011.
The Venezuelan claimed a surprise victory in Barcelona last weekend, holding off both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen to bring Williams its first win in eight years, but also became the fifth winner in as many races – and from as many different teams – as F1 2012 continued to be an exercise in unpredictability.
With former GP2 rival Sergio Perez chasing Alonso home in Malaysia, Nico Rosberg securing a breakthrough win in China and Lotus pairing Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean – the reigning GP2 champion – both looking like potential racewinners, Maldonado is excited about what may lie ahead.
"The season is unpredictable,” he told reporters from Williams' Grove base, “I think it is more competitive - it has become like a GP2 championship. It becomes very strong, [and] the drivers can make the difference. It's a bit boring when you see only one car winning."
Having achieved his own breakthrough at the Circuit de Catalunya – a venue where he qualified last year's poor Williams FW33 in the top ten – Maldonado now heads to the circuit that has given him his greatest successes prior to making the top flight. Through both World Series by Renault and GP2, Maldonado was always a frontrunner around the Principality and, after looking on course to open his F1 account there in 2011 – before being rudely nerfed out of the action by Lewis Hamilton – the 27-year old sees no reason why he cannot be a contender again next weekend.
"We will do our best,” he promised, “As you see, all the teams are so close, the championship is so close and the gap is so close.
"We are getting better and better all the time. At the moment, we don't have the quickest car on the track, but we are doing our best and why not? F1 is changing all the time. It's going to be difficult [to win in Monaco], but we will try again.
"The tyre degradation is quite big and it is true that you need to manage them. This is part of the race and it's the same for everybody. There are no easy races. We need to adapt to the tyres, to the rules, to the car.”
While the first two races of the year appeared set to continue the frustrating start to Maldonado's F1 career, he has bounced back with a couple of points finishes either side of retirement in Bahrain, and believes that he is now playing a bigger part in Williams' resurgence.
"I'm getting more experienced,” he pointed out, “I overpushed [sic
] in Australia because I wanted to get that [fifth] place. We were so motivated at the time because you can imagine the moment we had last year in the team.
"It was so difficult for us and then we saw [during pre-season testing] that the car performance was quite competitive. We were attacking, we were pushing so hard, but this is racing. Some times are good, some times not."