Pastor: 'Second win at Monaco'
NO PAIN IN SPAIN: Pastor Maldondo's ecstasy after winning the 2012 Spanish F1 GP was followed by a brave rescue in Williams' garage blaze.
Author: Tim Collings
LONDON, England - Not content with his stunning triumph at the fire-shrouded 2012 Spanish F1 GP, Venezuelan hero Pastor Maldonado has declared his intention of winning at Monaco on May 27.
The 27-year-old Latin American, who silenced his critics by delivering Williams' first win in eight years on the weekend of team founder Frank Williams 70th birthday, can see no reason why he can't do the same again.
His confidence is high after a masterful triumph built on a mature drive and good strategy He also believes F1 is changing fast - and that the driver pays a bigger role than in recent years.
SATISFYING TO WIN
"It's become like a GP2 championship," he said at the Williams factory. "The drivers can make the difference and the teams can still work on strategy and the car. It's a bit boring when you see one car winning - this season is more competitive."
Maldonado added that it was satisfying to win races under the current regulations despite criticism by Michael Schumacher and Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz about the unforgiving Pirelli tyres, .
"The tyre degradation is quite big and it is true that you need to manage them," Maldondo said, "but that's part of it and it's the same for everybody. There are no easy races. We need to adapt to the tyres, to the rules, to the car."
Looking ahead to the narrow streets of Monaco, he added: "All the teams and the championship are so close but we're getting better and better. We don't have the quickest car, maybe, but we are doing our best. Monaco? Why not? F1 is changing all the time. It's going to be difficult but we will try again."
He said the rapidly improving and revamped Williams team was gaining in self-belief with each race and its understanding of tyre management played a critical part in his Spanish GP win.
"The Pirellis are working quite well on our car," he told reporters. "We have degradation but it's the same for everybody. We've been working on the tyres. We built the car around the tyres. We understand very well how to do it."
Maldonado's first victory, from his first pole, in Spain turned him into a Venezuelan hero and set him on a course to become one of the biggest sport stories of the year. He's fully justified Williams' decision to sign him after releasing veteran Brazilian Rubens Barrichello.
Maldonado was offered the drive with Williams partly due to a huge sponsorship from Venezuela's state oil company but team principal Sir Frank Williams, one of the first persons rescued from the fuel blaze that erupted in the back of their garage during last Sunday's post-race celebration, this week made clear that it was the young driver's great talent that was more important.
Maldonado, showing dignity and level-headedness in his hour of glory, repaid many of the compliments he received from his team by signalling that he had no desire to leave. "I will stay in the team for a long time," he said. "We need to be winning, we need a mission, we need to build a championship and after that I will see for my future."
Williams' triumph came unexpectedly after the team endured, in 2011, its worst F1 season after which the design and engineering staff were shaken up.