Pastor Maldonado Q&A: Williams want more than points at Spa 30 Aug 2012
Pastor Maldonados win for Williams in the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year may have seemed a miracle. Indeed, since then points have eluded the young Venezuelan. But Maldonado is sure this situation is only a temporary one. With the structure in the team now settled and everyone pushing in the same direction, he seems convinced that better times are just around the corner. They could even start this weekend, as he explained exclusively to Formula1.com
Q: Pastor, your win at the Spanish Grand Prix was a sensation. But you cannot paint over the fact that since then you have not scored a point - why is that?
Pastor Maldonado: Well, that is not so easy to analyze and give an answer. Obviously we didnt get points together in the other races like we did in Barcelona. Barcelona was our first upgrade of the year - and it was so good. Everything that we were putting on the car was working exactly as expected and for it to happen that way you must be lucky, because there are always so many factors that influence the performance of the car when you do add changes. It was really a stellar moment, as the team understood perfectly what has been the weakness of the car from the start of the season and they solved it with this upgrade. Sure, it helped that we had been testing at this track for eight days during the winter, so we had a lot of information and we seized our chance there, which is also important - that you are ready when a chance comes your way. You probably could say that at the other races we didnt take our chances, even if we have been fast enough.
Q: Are you better than your car?
PM: That is a heretical question! (laughs) Fact is that we are working together as a team. Every time I ask for a change on the car the team reacts because they believe in my instincts, my feeling with the car, because I am working so tightly. That means a lot for all of us. We are synchronized. So it is everything together that makes our success.
Q: When will a Barcelona-like update come again?
PM: We have, of course, been developing the car after Barcelona as well - putting some new parts on the car at every race - and sometimes it works better, sometimes less so. Sometimes our car is not so competitive in certain conditions, but I think that is a plague for every team in the paddock. And of course it would be like asking for a soothsayer to know when the car will again be as good as it was in Barcelona. So an alternative to the crystal ball is to be as consistent as possible, to be close to the top guys. Then I am sure that we will find results again.
Q: Winning is addictive - how strong is that wanting more feeling?
PM: Ha, I was used to winning in the lower categories so it was a big change for me last year to start the races from behind and to accept that we didnt have the car for winning or even for the top ten. This season we have a much better car - maybe not a car for winning all the races, but weve shown that the car is competitive and consistent. For various reasons weve lost a couple of points, but as there are still nine races to go I have all the chances in the world to recover again - and enjoy a successful second part of the season.
Q: What has knowing that you can do it done for your self-confidence? Does it make a mental difference to be a race winner?
PM: For sure it makes a difference. From an emotional point of view it is an objective: as a sportsman you always want to win. So you could say that it was my mission - but then again the victory came quite soon, and it was so special because this team had gone eight years without a race win. And it definitely was not a lucky win! We won because we had the pace, because we were so competitive. Of course I was happy. We have been working so hard to improve the car since last year, because last year was the worst year in the history of the team. So to win the fifth race after this horrible 2011 year meant a lot to all of us. It did a lot to make us believe in our targets and in our potential to achieve them.
Q: But for you personally, was there a moment after the Barcelona win when you felt ten feet tall?
PM: No, it was not like that. But of course it changed the approach of people towards me. Isnt there a saying that everybody loves a winner? (laughs)
Q: What have you and the team mapped out for the remainder of the season? Force India are catching up, so how will you hold them off?
PM: True, they are catching up - but we are also catching up. But then what does that really mean? This season is so unpredictable that you really have to take it race by race. You can be hot at one race and down and out at the next. Talking about the performance of the car, weve been very consistent since Barcelona. Weve always been around the top ten and I really hope that the consistency stays for the last nine races, but that that results get better. Sure, another victory is on my mind. (laughs)
Q: After a little more than half the season gone, how is it to have a team mate with an equal amount of experience to you? Are you missing someone with the experience of Rubens Barrichello?
PM: No, nothing missing. Things change very fast in Formula One and Bruno (Senna) is doing quite well - just like me. Since the start of this season we are all pushing hard in the same direction, which is very important if you are looking for success. And it is a fact that what I like on the car Bruno also likes - and vice versa - so we form a good synergy to develop the car.
Q: Your shunt at the demo run in Venezuela: how embarrassing was that?
PM: Well, it is always tricky to run on tarmac that is not meant for racing - and yes, it was a bit embarrassing, but only a bit. It was at the end of the show run when everybody already had a good taste of Formula One, so it was no big deal. And I had the headlines (laughs)
Q: To some of your colleagues Spa is the best race track on the calendar. What is it for you? Last year you scored your only point of the season here
PM: This is one of my favourite tracks. In the past I have been quite successful here and I hope the car is competitive. I had a great race last year - I started from P21 and made it all the way to P10. And I hope this time I will be able to outdo as many other cars as last year - but starting from much higher on the grid. For sure, we will have to see what kind of new parts the other teams bring here - and see how ours are working to get ready for qualifying. Qualifying is very important here. And if it does not rain on Sunday, this would make it substantially easier with the Pirellis. Then it should be a good race for us.
Q: So how will it be on Sunday?
PM: Win the race - that would be ideal. Period. I definitely will go for something more than points.
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