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Maldonado seeking return to winning ways
31 August 2012
Pastor Maldonado might not have scored any points at all in F1 2012 since his breakthrough win for Williams at the Spanish Grand Prix, that hasn't changed his mindset going into this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
"Win the race - that would be ideal. Period. I definitely will go for something more than points," he said. "In the past I have been quite successful here and I hope the car is competitive.
"I had a great race last year - I started from P21 and made it all the way to P10," he continued. "And I hope this time I will be able to outdo as many other cars as last year - but starting from much higher on the grid."
However, there's no hiding the fact that it's a already a long time since that astounding race victory and that since then the season hasn't been going according to plan.
"Obviously we didn't get points together in the other races like we did in Barcelona," he admitted. "You probably could say that at the other races we didn't take our chances, even if we have been fast enough."
But the intervening races haven't done anything to dent the boost in self-confidence that his maiden GP win in May had given him.
"For sure it makes a difference," he agreed about now being a proven GP race winner. "It was so special because this team had gone eight years without a race win. And it definitely was not a lucky win!"
So what would it take to put Maldonado back on the podium again in the remaining nine races of the year?
"Barcelona was our first upgrade of the year, and it was so good. Everything that we were putting on the car was working exactly as expected," he said. "We have, of course, been developing the car after Barcelona as well - putting some new parts on the car at every race - and sometimes it works better, sometimes less so. Sometimes our car is not so competitive in certain conditions."
After Williams decided to oust Rubens Barrichello from his race seat at the end of 2011 in favour of Bruno Senna, many fans wondered if the Grove-based team would miss his experience and expertise at setting up cars this year.
"No, nothing missing. Things change very fast in F1 and Bruno (Senna) is doing quite well, just like me," he said. "What I like on the car Bruno also likes - and vice versa - so we form a good synergy to develop the car."
In the meantime, Maldonado has found controversy after run-ins with competitors on the track and with the race stewards after the race - and even had ill-fortune well away from race weekends, such as crashing his F1 car while giving a demonstration run at a publicity event back home in Venezuela during the summer break.
"Yes, it was a bit embarrassing, but only a bit," he insisted. "It is always tricky to run on tarmac that is not meant for racing.
"It was at the end of the show run when everybody already had a good taste of F1, so it was no big deal," he added, pointing out: "And I had the headlines!"
Getting headlines has never been Maldonado's problem, of course. Getting some championship points, on the other hand, is something he needs to get into a more regular habit of managing - and Spa would be a good place to start.
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