After further frustration in Monaco, Pastor Maldonado is looking to Montreal in his quest to put F1 points on the board in 2015.
The ever-challenging Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is the latest stop on the schedule, and Maldonado arrives aiming for a strong finish to kick-start a campaign that has been beset by problems, both of his own making and handed to him by Lady Luck.
The Venezuelan is currently above only the hapless Kevin Magnussen in the drivers' standings – as the Dane only raced in Australia due to Fernando Alonso's absence – but can take a little solace from the fact that Alonso is among the drivers also on zero points after a similarly troubled start to the season.
Having made it through to the final phase of qualifying in Monaco, Maldonado was again denied a shot at the points when his Lotus succumbed to a hydraulic leak after just five laps, but he remains stoic in the face of misfortune as he heads to Montreal.
“Of course it was frustrating, but that's the way that racing goes sometimes,” he shrugged, “There were lots of positives - we qualified well and the car felt good on the track – but, unfortunately, there was an issue with a part and the only alternative was to retire the car.
“That's racing sometimes, but I've approaching every race wanting to finish in the points. The circuit in Canada has its own challenges but there's nothing to say we shouldn't be fast there. You use the kerbs quite a lot, so you need to be able to ride the bumps well and you need good turn-in for the chicanes. Also, like Monaco, you need to stay away from the walls. You should get close, but making contact is too close!
“This year's car has felt good, so I'll be pushing for points in the race. At most of the races this year we've looked strong all through the weekend and it's been the final piece of crossing the finish line in the points which has been out of reach. That's what we want this weekend.”
Like many of his rivals, Maldonado is a confirmed fan of the Ile Notre Dame layout, and is confident that this year's E23 should be a contender despite the increased competition for the minor points positions.
“You need a good race car to have confidence to push and that is something we have with the E23,” he explained, “We've had upgrades and we have a good understanding of how to get the car to work how we want it. It's much more predictable and delivers more than last year's car. You can see that the lessons learnt in 2014 have been applied. I'm looking forward to some good weekends where we can deliver what we're capable of.
“It's been interesting where we are and there is still a lot of potential for us to do well this season. We've seen that the Mercedes is consistently the fastest car, but they are not unbeatable and, behind them, there's a great battle. We seem to have a car that is in the top ten on qualifying pace and quicker than some of its nearest rivals when it comes to the race pace. At somewhere like Monaco it's difficult to take advantage of superior race pace, but at more open circuits we're well placed.”