Having slumped to 18th place to the grid in qualifying on Saturday at the Korea International Circuit in Yeongam, Pastor Maldonado
would have been expecting that a top ten finish in the Korean Grand Prix
would be a tall order. He certainly wasn't realistically expecting to be up into ninth place at the end of the first lap.
"I had a very good first lap, moving up to ninth after an incident at turn three allowed me to make up a lot of places," he said.
He was able to maintain the position over the first half a dozen laps, before finally succumbing to a smooth pass from Mark Webber
on lap 6 after which he opted for an early pit stop to shed the supersoft tyres and take up a et of prime tyres for the next extended run.
"I tried to maintain my position in the top ten but the safety cars hindered my race today," he explained. "The cars behind were able to keep closing up behind me, and after the second restart they just had too much pace and were able to overtake.
Maldonado had been running up in tenth place when he ran wide in turn 10 on lap 43, which allowed four cars - Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez, Esteban Gutierrez and Maldonado's Williams
team mate Valtteri Bottas - to stream past him in a single class action lawsuit. That put him down into 14th place for the rest of the afternoon, and although the late retirement of Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo gave him a late boost to 13th by the chequered flag it was still well outside the points position that Maldonado had been hoping for.
"It's disappointing not to finish in the points but the end result is a fair reflection of our performance this weekend and we need to work hard to find some gains for the race next weekend in Japan," said Maldonado.
Bottas maintained the position that he'd won from his team mate and finished on place ahead. "I think 12th was a fair result as the cars that finished ahead of us had better pace all weekend," he said.
"I was a bit unlucky with the incident on the first lap as I was blocked and lost a position whereas others were able to make up places" he continued. "The first stint was difficult as I was struggling with the supersoft tyre, but the pace improved a lot in the second stint on the mediums and the safety cars allowed me to close in on the top ten.
"In the end it was all about making sure we still had the grip in the tyres to fight for some points in the final laps," he said.
"Valtteri was able to manage the front-right slightly better because Pastor was pushing harder further up the field," explained Williams' chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar when asked why Bottas had the edge on his team mate in the last phase of the race.
"We ultimately had to cut Pastor's second stint slightly short. We used the two safety car periods to help manage tyre wear to get to the end of the race but we knew it was going to be tough," he said. "With more laps on his tyres than those around him, Pastor was unable to defend from Gutierrez, Perez and Massa in the closing stages.
"We were close to fighting for points but the car pace unfortunately wasn't quite good enough," he added.