After an excellent performance in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, Pastor Maldonado's race lasted just five laps as he jumped the start, was caught up in the turn one melee, and finally bookended an error-strewn few laps by making contact with Timo Glock on the safety car restart, forcing him to stop out on track with front-end damage.
Maldonado admitted that a slight mistake on the grid had meant that the clutch had 'slipped' out of his hands before the red lights switched off, and although his fast start enabled him to escape the worst of the damage at turn one, he was still forced to pit for fresh tyres, rejoining the race at the back of the field.
After the restart, the feisty Venezuelan made contact with the Marussia of Timo Glock at the top of the Kemmel Straight on the run to Les Combes, leaving his Williams with terminal damage. Maldonado then limped across the tarmac towards an escape road and a disappointing retirement.
“I made a slight mistake at the start because the clutch slipped out of my hands before the red light switched off. We then got caught up in the first corner incident and that compromised our race,” he said.
“I'm disappointed because we could have scored some good points here, but it's not long until the next race so we're looking forward now.”
His actions at Spa-Francorchamps, however, were not without repercussions and after jumping the start and colliding with Glock, he was called before the stewards again and slapped with two five-place grid penalties for the event at Monza next Sunday [see separate story – HERE
].by Joshua Bonser