Maldonado: Latest Renault engine much stronger

Pastor Maldonado targeting a strong showing  at the German GP

Pastor Maldonado targeting a strong showing at the German GP

After a bumpy ride at Silverstone where he collided with Esteban Gutierrez during the British Grand Prix, Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado turns his attention to the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim…

How well do you know Hockenheim?
I have raced at Hockenheim both with GP2 and F1. I’ve been quite quick there in the past – winning in GP2 – and it’s a fun circuit to drive so we’ll see how it goes. I really like the people there; the fans are great and so many of them come to the race. There is a great atmosphere, particularly in the final few corners with the big grandstands.

What has been the highlight to date at this track?
Winning in the GP2 Series there was great; I led pretty much from start to finish apart from one lap and it was the year I took the GP2 championship so that was a good experience during a great season.

Are there any key areas in terms of a quick lap time?
The final sector is challenging with lots of corners coming quickly after each other, so that is one area where time can easily be won or lost. Get it right and you carry speed from one corner to the next, but a small mistake in one corner can mean you are also punished at the next.

Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez collide at Silverstone

Pastor Maldonado and Esteban Gutierrez collide at Silverstone

How big a part could the weather play?
We’ve had really changeable conditions in the past, with rain one session and a drying track the next so the weather could definitely have a hand in the run up to the race. We did see that the E22 seems to be much more competitive in damp conditions so I definitely want some rain in terms of assisting our performance!

Will the circuit characteristics suit the E22?
There’s potential for it to be a tough weekend for us. The surface is very smooth, there are some slower corners with strong traction demands out of them as well as several straights where you need as much power as possible. Certainly, the latest engine I used at the Silverstone test feels to be much stronger so that will be a benefit.

Did the mid-race incident with Esteban Gutierrez at Silverstone distract you at all?
The contact put my car into the air, but it was over very quickly and honestly I was so focussed that I didn’t give it a second thought. As soon as the wheels were back on the ground I was racing again. After the race, people told me it looked quite spectacular! I was told afterwards that there was quite a bit of damage to the car. Certainly, it didn’t feel like I had all the downforce that I should have had and we could see the damage to the floor and rear wing.

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado has yet to score points this season

Before those issues, how was your race?
It was a similar story to other races in that we struggled for power so I wasn’t able to fight the cars around me. I pushed as hard as I could but it was a difficult race and not what I wanted in front of the Enstone team and our fans. I’m disappointed to have not scored points but our car is showing that it can compete at different circuits.

What’s your approach for the next races?
It’s always the same. You arrive at the track and try to do your best for every element of the weekend. It’s the same if you have a car which is working as you want or one that has work needing to be done: You focus to optimize the package as best you can; you work with your engineers through the weekend then you focus on maximising every opportunity when you’re on track.