MELBOURNE, Australia – Pastor Maldonado’s severe crash into a wall on the last lap of Australian GP shattered his car and Williams’ hopes of a strong points finish - but not the enthusiasm his drive created for the season.Williams’ slide over the past decade from a pre-eminent F1 power to bottom of the pack, was regretted by everybody in the sport. While the team left Australia empty-handed, Maldonado's impressive race hinted at an overdue revival.Maldonado was sixth on the final lap and putting huge pressure on Ferrari’s fifth-placed Fernando Alonso but the Venezuelan lost control of his car and went nose-first into the wall.MISSED OPPORTUNITYHad he finished sixth he would have delivered Williams eight championship points; the team collected only five in 2011 overall.Maldonado said: "Our pace was quick and consistent. We were looking competitive right up until the last lap. I just lost the back of the car while pushing Alonso and had nowhere to go."Even Alonso sympathised with Maldonado, though the Spaniard was relieved that he’d held him off through the closing laps. Maldonado said: "It was a shame after a fantastic race, fighting for fifth or sixth place, to lose your position six corners from the end."For eight laps it was a very tough fight," he said.UNDER PRESSUREMaldonado is one of a few drivers in F1 who have had to carry the tag of “pay driver”, suggesting his employment at Williams owes more to his huge sponsorship from the Venezuelan state oil company rather merit.Before pressuring, Maldonado had been right on the tail of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull's Mark Webber, even attempting an audacious overtake of the latter.