13 July 2014
Maldonado: Hockenheim F1 weekend could be tough
Pastor Maldonado looks to bounce back from a frustrating British Grand Prix, but concedes that Hockenheim may not be the ideal circuit for Lotus F1.
After a bumpy ride at Silverstone, Pastor Maldonado turns his attention to the German Grand Prix, but admits that Hockenheim may not be the best of circuits for Lotus.
The Venezuelan was already struggling for pace when he was launched into the air by Esteban Gutierrez's Sauber at the British Grand Prix, eventually coming home three laps down on race winner Lewis Hamilton, and concedes that Hockenheim's characteristics are unlikely to suit the E22 or its Renault engine.
“There's potential for it to be a tough weekend for us,” Maldonado confirmed, “The surface is very smooth, there are some slower corners with strong traction demands out of them, as well as several straights where you need as much power as possible.
“The final sector is challenging with lots of corners coming quickly after each other, so that is one area where time can easily be won or lost. Get it right and you carry speed from one corner to the next, but a small mistake in one corner can mean you are also punished at the next.”
Taking some consolation from the fact that the engine he used at the post-race Silverstone test felt 'much stronger', Maldonado says he is also hoping for a little help from above when he arrives in Germany.
“We've had really changeable conditions in the past, with rain one session and a drying track the next, so the weather could definitely have a hand in the run up to the race,” he acknowledged, “We did see that the E22 seems to be much more competitive in damp conditions, so I definitely want some rain in terms of assisting our performance!”
Already a winner at Hockenheim in GP2 – a success he marks as a highlight of his multiple trips to Germany – Maldonado remains unperturbed by his run-in with Gutierrez at Silverstone, and insists that it is business as usual for the rest of the season.
“The contact put my car into the air, but it was over very quickly and, honestly, I was so focused that I didn't give it a second thought,” he explained, “As soon as the wheels were back on the ground, I was racing again.
“After the race, people told me it looked quite spectacular, and I was told that there was quite a bit of damage to the car. Certainly, it didn't feel like I had all the downforce I should have had and we could see the damage to the floor and rear wing....
“[Before that], it was a similar story to other races in that we struggled for power so I wasn't able to fight the cars around me. I pushed as hard as I could, but it was a difficult race and not what I wanted in front of the team and our fans.
“I'm disappointed to have not scored points, but our car is showing that it can compete at different circuits, [and the approach for the next races] is always the same. You arrive at the track and try to do your best for every element of the weekend. It's the same if you have a car which is working as you want or one that has work needing to be done: You focus to optimise the package as best you can; you work with your engineers through the weekend then you focus on maximising every opportunity when you're on track..."
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