Lotus F1 believes that Pastor Maldonado could have joined team-mate Romain Grosjean in the points at the Hungarian Grand Prix had it not been for a trio of penalties awarded against the Venezuelan.

On an afternoon where the race officials were more vigilant, and more ruthless, than of late, Maldonado saw his fightback from a poor start interrupted by drive-thru' penalties for contact with Sergio Perez and pit-lane speeding - before having a further ten seconds added to his overall race time for the third indiscretion of overtaking Manor's Will Stevens under the safety car. The Perez incident particularly irked the Venezuelan, who felt that there had been little of note in the clash.

"With Sergio Perez around the outside of me, it felt like a racing incident," he insisted, "There was nothing intentional in the contact."

Having started on new medium tyres, Maldonado changed to new soft tyres on laps 25 - one after his initial penalty - and 41, before taking his second drive-thru' on lap 58. The ten seconds added to his race time dropped the Lotus from 13th to 14th in the final classification.

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"It was tough race and the stewards were certainly very strict today, very tough on driving with me and many other drivers," Maldonado concluded, "I struggled at the start as our strategy was to run with the harder tyres, but then the strategy was working well with the softer tyres until the penalties affected our race."

Having started 14th, the Venezuelan bobbed around the midfield for much of the race as a result, but his team reckoned that a top ten finish would have been possible.

"Pastor had the potential to also score well today, but unfortunately too many penalties blunted his charge," trackside operations director Alan Permane confirmed, "The E23 worked well in today's track conditions [and], we had a good strategy."