Pastor Maldonado has refused to take the blame for the collision with Sauber's Marcus Ericsson at the Brazilian Grand Prix and reiterates his belief it was a racing incident.
The Lotus driver connected with Ericsson midway through the race at Interlagos which sent the Sauber into a spin. Race direction handed Maldonado a five-second time penalty for the incident but he was able to recover with an aggressive strategy to claim the final points-paying position after Felipe Massa was excluded from the results due to a tyre temperature and pressure infringement.
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn called the Venezuelan a 'very annoying' opponent, with Maldonado having been involved in a number of collisions during his F1 career.
Even though Maldonado regretted the clash with Ericsson he felt it was a blameless incident and any collision is now instantly punished by race direction.
“There's a saying that rubbing's racing,” Maldonado said. “In Formula 1 it sometimes feels like you get penalised for every bit of contact. I went for a gap that was there – and we all want to see overtaking in Formula 1 – and he closed the gap whilst defending his position.
“I saw it as a racing incident, and on a corner like turn one in Brazil the driver on the outside will usually come off worse.”
After the race the two drivers spoke about the clash to clear the air and Maldonado is looking to move on next weekend at the season finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
“We spoke after the race and all's fine between us,” he said. “I think pretty much the same would have happened if positions were reversed and he had tried the same move on me.”
Maldonado heads into the final round tied on points in the F1 drivers' standings with Sauber's Felipe Nasr for 13th, with the Brazilian leading the Lotus driver on results countback.