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Pastor Maldonado remained a mercurial mystery for much of the 2012 F1 season, combining often blinding speed – relative to the car he was driving at least – with moments of madness that maybe should have received more than a slap on the wrist or demotion on the grid. He was in line for points in Melbourne before crashing out in pursuit of Fernando Alonso, and was denied a score in Malaysia by late gremlins, before finally opening his account in China. His season’s high-point was just two races away, however, as he made the most of an inherited pole position to keep his Williams ahead of both Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen to return the Grove team to the top of the podium for the first time since 2004. Just as it appeared that Maldonado would be able to kick on, however, he embarked on a nine-race run without scoring, pockmarked by incidents with Sergio Perez in Monaco and Lewis Hamilton in Valencia, and getting caught up in the first corner chaos at Spa having jumped the start. Somehow, the most penalised driver of 2012 avoided the fate that befell Romain Grosjean, but only scored in three of the final six races, allowing under-rated team-mate Bruno Senna to narrow the gap between them in the standings. It was the Brazilian, however, who makes way for Valtteri Bottas in the 2013 Williams line-up.