3 May 2015
F1 Spanish Grand Prix: Maldonado win shows 'why you never give up'
Pastor Maldonado admits that he calls on memories of his 2012 Spanish Grand Prix victory to help him through the tougher times of his F1 career.
Pastor Maldonado may not be poised to repeat his famous 2012 Spanish Grand Prix victory, but says that the achievement is a perfect reminder not to let setbacks bring you down.
The 2012 season precedes Williams' recent resurgence by a couple of years, and Maldonado was still being viewed very much as a pay driver despite his GP2 title success. However, on a weekend which kept getting better as everything clicked for the team-driver combination, he made the most of an inherited pole to keep world champions Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen at bay to take the win.
“It was a great day in my career, a strong race and victory over Fernando Alonso in his home event,” he reflected, “We really deserved it because we did it on merit and under big pressure from the Ferrari all race. People forget that we were outside the top ten on Friday and then everything came together. We qualified second - pole after Lewis Hamilton was disqualified - and I knew there was a chance to win the race. I just felt so calm and ready to win….”
Although he has yet to stand on the top step of an podium for the second time, Maldonado uses that Barcelona weekend to help overcome the sort of frustration that bugged both his 2014 campaign and the start of the current season where, despite having an improved Lotus package, he has yet to score.
“That weekend, after being 17th in first practice, shows why you must never give up in F1,” he confirmed, “It gave me more confidence because my first year in F1 had been difficult but, as soon as the car was competitive I was up there, fighting with the top drivers. My mentality changed and this now drives me forward when times are tough.”
Regardless of his prior success there, returning to the Circuit de Catalunya is always a high point of the season for Maldonado, and he is expecting another tough midfield battle this time around.
“It's very special – mostly because we see a lot of Venezuelan support there, but also because it's the first race back in Europe and, of course, because it's nice to have won there,” he admitted, “There are obviously races that are much closer to Venezuela in a geographic sense, but Barcelona is special for me because there is a huge community of Venezuelans close by and of course my mother tongue is Spanish. So I hope to see a lot of flags around the track and some great support as usual.
“It's always good to race in front of your fans and I am determined to continue my good record here, but Catalunya is tough for the cars, drivers and teams because everyone knows the track so well and you have to fight for every thousandth of a second.
“The circuit has certainly been very good for me in the past, with the win in 2012 being the highlight. A top ten in qualifying will be our first focus and then it'll be a very tough race in terms of tyre management, with a lot of pit stops and strategy. Hopefully, we'll see a good result there for the team this year - and some points for me!”
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