Pastor Maldonado could scent blood - and more importantly a Grand Prix podium - as the chequered flag drew near, and rightly so. Lewis Hamilton had held second for much of the race, but his tyres had gone off the edge of the cliff - the Briton would later say it was "almost like I had flat tyres at the back". Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen had already taken advantage, and now Maldonado was closing rapidly in. Down the main straight and through the first turns the pair went side by side, inches apart, and while Maldonado managed to get his nose in front, Hamilton ultimately held sway. The Williams man was undeterred though, and launched another attack down the back straight, attempting to stick around the outside of Turn 13 and thereby gain the inside line for the coming left-hander. Hamilton was wise to the move and tried to run Maldonado out of track, but the latter refused to back down - and disaster ensued.
"I don't know why he drove like that," Maldonado would later complain - "he was struggling too much with tyres". The stewards disagreed, giving Maldonado a post-race penalty that dropped him from 10th to 12th. Unlike Maldonado, Hamilton was unable to continue - but he was unrepentant about his staunch defence. "You never let people past," was his mantra. "You've got to race for every position you can get..."