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Pastor punished for Sauber flight

2014-04-07 08:22

INCOMING: Lotus' Pastor Maldonado (grounded) has received a five-place grid penalty after making tyre contact with Sauber's Estaban Gutierrez, causing his car to flip during the 2014 Bahrain GP. Image: AFP/Marwan Naamani

MANAMA, Bahrain - Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado will carry a five-place grid penalty into the 2014 Chinese Formula 1 GP on April 20 for colliding with Esteban Gutierrez's Sauber, which barrel-rolled through the air.

Initial TV coverage indicated that the Venezuelan had speared his Lotus under Gutierrez' car in Sunday's floodlit race in Bahrain but, shown from a different TV angle, it was apparent that the flip was caused by tyre contact.

Gutierrez literally did not know what had hit him after the touch going into Turn 1 before landing upside down on the rollover protection bar and then righting itself.

"Wow, what was that?," Gutierrez exclaimed over the car radio while still in the wreckage, while Maldonado's undamaged car raced on.


The incident brought out the pace car while Gutierrez appeared unhurt but was taken to the medical centre before further precautionary checks in hospital. The team later said he had been released and was fine.

Maldonado was also given a 10-second stop/go penalty during the race for causing the collision. The stewards later also imposing a five-place grid drop for the race in China, three superlicence penalty points. (A driver who accrues 12 points in a 12-month period faces a race ban.)

Maldonado said: "We will need to have a look again at what happened as Esteban seemed to be off his line coming into Turn 1 - maybe he missed his braking point, I don't know, but by then I was in the corner with nowhere to go.

"It's difficult to understand... I was coming out from the pits and with cold tyres. I think he was very unlucky and it's good he jumped straight out of the car."

Maldonado's Lotus team hasn't scored a point from the three races so far this season after finishing fourth overall in 2013. The Venezuelan finished 14th after starting from 17th.

Watch the Maldonado/Gutierrez crash at the 2014 Bahrain GP below:

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