24 June 2012
Maldonado eyeing challenge to Vettel?
Pastor Maldonado's European Grand Prix ambitions stretch beyond merely holding onto his third starting position in Valencia.
Pastor Maldonado has admitted that he is not resigning himself to merely holding on to his top three grid position in Sunday's European Grand Prix, clearly eyeing a second victory on Spanish soil.
The Barcelona race winner, supported by a large contingent of Venezuelans in the Valencia crowd, slotted in behind Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in qualifying around the city's America's Cup port, but reckons that he can aim for more than a supporting role on race day.
"For sure, the points are very important for the team, and it will be good to be on the podium but, for sure, if we can go for more, I will try my best - like always," he insisted, "The strategy is going to be very important, [but] the team is ready, so [we're] looking forward to that.
"I think we've been working so hard, [and] the car has been quite quick from yesterday. We were struggling a bit with the option tyres - we were confused because I didn't feel the same feeling with the prime tyres - but then we've worked so hard trying to understand what was happening. For quali, we understand a little bit the way, and here we are. I think we did a pretty good job. Williams is getting better and better every time. I'm pretty happy for the team [and] pretty happy for my country. It's going to be a great opportunity to get on the podium and fight for a good result."
Maldonado's qualifying effort saw him use no fewer than seven sets of tyres across the three phases, but he insists that that will not be the disadvantage that others believe.
"I think, for the long run, for us, the [harder] prime tyres were a bit better," he explained, "We had more range and they were even quicker after a couple of laps. We have tyres enough to race and get very competitive, so I'm not worried about that. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. We'll see from the start what happens with the strategy, that will be very important, essential, for tomorrow, [as] the conditions are very hot and very difficult for everybody."
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