Coming off one of the best races of a frustrating season, and with confirmation of his seat for next year, Pastor Maldonado is in more optimistic mood heading to Hungary.
The Venezuelan has yet to score points since joining Lotus but, having been confirmed as one half of the Enstone team's line-up for 2015, produced a solid drive to come home twelfth at Hockenheim on Sunday.
“Though we didn't score any points, it was a good race as we had a reliable car and our lap times weren't bad relative to our opposition,” Maldonado reflected, “Qualifying was frustrating, as we didn't get all we wanted out of the car, so it's always difficult when you start so far back on the grid.
“We had the suspension changes to get used to, so it was good to run the race distance and get a lot of data to help us for the next races. It was quite an eventful race, so I'm happy that we made it to the end without any incidents to report.”
Although team-mate Romain Grosjean was forced to retire his E22 after only 26 laps, Maldonado is confident that the team's problems are gradually being overcome, and is looking forward to the annual trip to Hungary, even though the circuit would not have suited earlier iterations of the radical-looking Lotus.
“The Hungarian Grand Prix is one of the best of the season,” he claimed, “On track, it can be very challenging. The weather is usually very hot there and it is very demanding from a physical point of view, but it is one of the races that I enjoy best because
of these demands - I really like the challenge that it presents.
“[The Hungaroring] is a very demanding circuit for drivers as there are limited overtaking opportunities and it has quite a slow speed layout, so we'll be able to see how much improvement we've made on this type of configuration. Qualifying is so important at this track because of the small number of overtaking opportunities, but I've qualified well there in the past so, hopefully, I can deliver a strong performance that will give the team a boost as we head into the summer break.”
Being confirmed as a Lotus driver for 2015, ostensibly underlining his existing multi-year deal, was also good news for Maldonado in a season where he still languishes amongst the Caterham, Marussia and Sauber drivers yet to get off the mark in ten races.
“I joined Lotus on a multi-year deal, but there is always talk and gossip in F1 about drivers and teams,” the Venezuelan pointed out, “We both know we haven't had the first season either of us wanted in terms of results, so this was a clear statement that we're both committed to working together and getting results in the future. From my perspective, I'm fully behind Lotus and I know we'll achieve great things together.”