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Pastor Maldonado – Hero to Zero

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gabriel Polychronis is a motorsport enthusiast, taking a particularly strong interest in Formula One. Gabriel shares his opinions via F1 News & Views Podcast along with his brother, Jacob.

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July 19th, 2012 (F1plus / Gabriel Polychronis).- Pastor Maldonado led Williams F1 to the discontinuation of their near eight-year drought by prevailing at Circuit de Catalunya, but has had only a negative impact since.

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The venezuelan led Williams F1 to the discontinuation of their near eight-year drought by prevailing at Circuit de Catalunya. This glorious win saw many drivers and fans alike show a fondness towards the Venezuelan driver, however, he has been unable to gain any points since then and he has made some enemies along the way.

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Maldonado has only had two points finishes this season, whereas his more consistently scoring teammate – Bruno Senna has had a total of five points finishes.

We all thought that Maldonado had the ability to win multiple races, however, his last four races have been of stark contrast to his performance at Circuit de Catalunya. He has hardly been able to race a clean race since his win in Spain, which is the main reason why he has not scored any points in the last four races.

The first Maldonado related incident that occurred after the Spanish Grand Prix was in free practice three at Monaco. At the corner before the entry to the tunnel (Portier) at Monaco, Maldonado appeared to carelessly turn into Perez, and as a result, was handed a ten-place grid penalty. This incident angered Perez, and he was heard on his team radio calling Maldonado ‘crazy.’
Crazy? Or just an amateur?

The next incident that occurred did not involve another driver, but it still definitely showed a sheer lack of experience and matureness. During qualifying Maldonado was looking like he would gain a strong grid position for the Canadian Grand Prix, until he made a rookie error at the last turn of the track. He appeared to take too much curb through the chicane, which caused him to gain a recoverable amount of over steer. He managed to keep his car out of the wall and the lap was very much salvageable, despite the over steer. Maldonado however, did not salvage the lap. Instead, he decided to keep his foot firm on the accelerator pedal whilst the car was power sliding, which naturally caused him to spin 360 degrees. This resulted in Maldonado qualifying in seventeenth; much lower than what it could have been if he was able to salvage that particular hot lap.

Maldonado chalked up yet another amateur error in Valencia when he was seen colliding with Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton: in second during the penultimate lap, was fending off Maldonado into turn 13; Hamilton took the inside line to defend his position, which forced Maldonado off the track. He tried to re-join the track, and by doing so, he effectively T-Boned Hamilton and ended his race. This also squandered any chances of Maldonado finishing in the points.

The next episode of Maldonado’s mishaps took place at Silverstone. This incident resulted in the termination of Perez’s race along with a swarm of abuse. Maldonado and Perez were wheel to wheel at the first part of the ‘Vale’ chicane. Maldonado seemed to lose the rear of the car and collided with Perez. During an interview, the Mexican driver accused Maldonado of having “no respect” for other drivers and he also labelled him as a “very stupid driver.” He also received a ten thousand Euro fine for his collision with Perez. In Maldonado’s defence, there appeared to be no malice whatsoever in this particular incident, which is why I think the accusation of Maldonado having “no respect” for other competitors is harsh and untrue. He is however, racing like an amateur.

He may be a Formula One race winner, but he must improve his race displays, otherwise he will be considered nothing more than a one hit wonder.

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