19 November 2013
United States Grand Prix: Contrite Maldonado ‘stuck in moment’
Following his post-qualifying outburst, Pastor Maldonado attempts to explain the factors affecting his state of mind late in the season.
Pastor Maldonado has further backtracked on his claims that the Williams team had sabotaged his qualifying efforts at the United States Grand Prix, admitting that the heat of the moment may have got to him.
The Venezuelan exited in the first phase of qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas, and promptly suggested during a television interview that 'somebody is playing with the pressure and the temperatures' of the tyres on his FW35. Williams quickly refuted the claims, saying that it had never treated a driver that way in its lengthy existence, and Maldonado – who had already announced his split from the team for 2014 – has been on the defensive ever since.
An initial playing down of the suggestions ahead of Sunday race was followed after the event by another interview in which he attempted to justify the outburst.
"Sometimes you get too stressed and you get stuck in the moment," he told journalists, "Maybe there is something behind that after three years, and sometimes you can explode. I think I accumulated energy and exploded. It's not that I'm crazy and [just] start to say many things like that.
"When you get to the end of the season, you are more stressed, but only because I want something more and want to deliver 100 per cent, but am limited by the car. After the victory and the good season we had last year, we were expecting more - not just me but, as a team, were expecting more. Sometimes you say something more than what you need to say.”
Admitting that it had been a mistake to accuse the team, Maldonado said he hoped that his relationship with the Grove outfit hadn't been too badly damaged.
"For sure, it was wrong from my side, because I respected them for three years and they respected me for three years,” he pointed out, “But I was so stressed during the weekend and after the announcement that I am leaving the team. Maybe some people changed in approach and I was taking that personally.”
The Venezuelan was unable to add to his single point, from the Hungarian Grand Prix in July, as a first-lap clash with Adrian Sutil left him needing attention and having to move away from his original strategy. Sutil, who hit the barriers as result of the touch on the back straight, suggested that his rival needed 'an emergency area' around him as it wasn't the first incident he had been involved in.
"I cannot react against all of my people because of just one person,” the 2012 Spanish GP winner said, returning to the situation at Williams, “At the end of the day, it's a great relationship and I want to keep them as friends. I have some big friends here - maybe the only friends I have in F1 - and we've had maybe the best time of my career together, but maybe also the worst part of my career together."
Despite the outburst possibly alerting the rest of the grid to his true nature, Maldonado remains confident that he will have a drive next season, telling British television that he has two options – believed to be Lotus and Sauber – on whom to lavish a reputed $30m sponsorship budget.
"It has not been easy for me to leave the team, but I wish them all the best," he insisted.
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