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Pastor's push ends GP hopes

2012-03-18 19:59

LOOKING GOOD – BUT THEN... Williams’ Pastor Maldonado trails Red Bull’s Mark Webber (leading) and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso during the 2012 Australian F1 GP. A close thing with Alonso later cost him car control and a crash. Image: AFP

Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE, Australia - Pastor Maldonado's rush of blood to the head at the end of the 2012 Australian F1 GP denied Williams more points on Sunday than the team had scored in all of last season.

The Venezuelan had shown competitive pace through 57 of the 58 laps and looked set to finish sixth when he lost control of his car on the final lap and crashed spectacularly while pressing the fifth-placed Ferrari of Fernando Alonso.


Williams chairman Adam Parr, whose team racked up only five points in 2011 - its worst season said he understood why the Venezuelan had been trying to pass Alonso rather than banking the eight points. "He wasn't side-by-side with Fernando but he's a racer. If there's a car in front of him, he doesn't appreciate that very much.

"So, I'm afraid that's just in the blood. I think you can imagine that a driver who doesn't finish a race always feels very frustrated but I gave him a cuddle and said 'You drove a great race and we'll have another go in seven days (Malaysian GP)'."

Parr's disappointment was tempered by the fact that after several years in the doldrums Sunday's season-opener proved that the nine-times Contructors' champion team had a car with the pace to challenge at the front of the grid.

"At the end of the day we've had a great weekend," he said. "We've done a lot in the last few months to truly try to turn the team around and I think we've had a lot of evidence this weekend that we're making really good progress. The car was considerably better than anything I have seen in recent years so I think we have to take the positives from today."


Maldonado has always shown good pace at street circuits such as Albert Park, notably getting up to sixth in the 2011 Monaco GP - only to end up empty-handed and out after clashing with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

The 27-year-old, in his second year in F1 and enjoying considerable financial support from state oil company PDVSA, also stressed that the pace of the car augured well for the season.

"Our pace was quick and consistent and we were looking competitive right up until the moment I had on the last lap, which is very important," Maldonado said.
"Unfortunately, I just lost the back of the car while pushing Alonso and I had nowhere to go."


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