Maldonado: Consistency could be the key
24 June 2009
Pastor Maldonado's early days in the GP2 Series were characterised by a mix of sublime performances and rock-ape moments, but the Venezuelan appears altogether calmer as he puts together a title bid with ART Grand Prix.
Despite giving his crew work to do after crashing in practice for last weekend's Silverstone double-header, he rewarded their efforts with points in race one before turning second on the grid into a victory in Sunday's sprint race.
The Venezuelan qualified in ninth place during the half-hour timed session, and claimed seventh place in a rather uneventful opening race. With the top eight finishers reversed for Sunday's grid, that put him nicely on the front row and, having taken the lead at the start, there was no stopping him as he led from lights to flag to secure his second victory of the season.
"The weekend did not start that well with some difficulties in finding the right set-up and struggling in traffic during qualifying," he noted, "but the beauty of ART Grand Prix is that they're able to make strong progress throughout a race weekend, even though everything happens so fast.
"We improved the car a lot for Sunday's race, I made a good start, which was the key for my victory, and I could pull out a gap in the first half of the race. From then on, I controlled the race really easily. This weekend is nine points, not so bad, and very important for the championship, for the team, for everybody."
Admitting that he still needed to work on getting the most out of qualifying, Maldonado accepted that racking up points in each and every race could be the means to clinching the title.
"We need to be in better shape for qualifying and, if we can do that, then there is no reason we could not catch the leaders as we are really strong in race conditions," he reflected, "We need to pass the Barwa team, and [ART team-mate] Nico [Hulkenberg] is very strong, but if we always get some points I think we can catch them. I'm confident and really optimistic.
"This year, I'm very consistent, always in the points, and this could be very important at the end of the season. The team is working hard and, with such a good basis, it's up to the drivers to make the difference. I'm up for it.
"We have three weeks now [to the Nurburgring], so a lot of time to think, to work, to prepare the car for the qualifying and to be very quick in two or three laps. I think we are working to improve - we are improving, but not enough, and now we need to push very hard because now is mid-season and, after that, we need to be more constant in the races and quicker in the qualifying.
"But I think we can do it because the team is very strong, the guys are very intelligent: I think the problem is the combination of car and me, because I cannot quite understand the car in that moment, and I cannot push quite at my maximum, but we're going to improve for sure, because we are pushing very hard."