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Maldonado: points a 'weight lifted from my shoulders'

05 Nov 2014

Pastor Maldonado said it was a huge relief to finally score his first points for Lotus in Austin - and urged the team to capitalise on that momentum over the final two races of 2014.

The Venezuelan enjoyed his best race of the season in the United States, very nearly progressing into Q3 for the first time in qualifying and then finishing ninth on the road, having been a constant presence in the fight for the final points-paying positions.

It was Maldonado's first top ten finish since last year's Hungarian Grand Prix, and Lotus's first points since Monaco in May.

"[It was] like a weight was lifted from my shoulders," Maldonado said of finishing ninth. "But as soon as you reach one milestone, it's straight onto the next - so our focus is already to try and do better this weekend in Brazil.

"It's important to remember that we were competitive for most of the weekend in Austin - even though we dedicated some time to trying things like the 2015 evaluation nose in practice - and we need to continue like that for the next two races.

"The car has felt better and better to drive and we've been able to get more from it over the last few races. We'll discount Sochi as we struggled so much to get the tyres to work there, but apart from that event, when the car was reliable we've been able to push quite well on different circuits so that's been a real bonus."

Maldonado's team mate Romain Grosjean had also been running in the top ten late on in Austin, but ultimately came home 11th after being unceremoniously shuffled down the order by Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne - a move which earned the latter a post-race penalty.

"Points have been so very hard won by the team this season so it was really, really frustrating," Grosjean said of the incident. "I think Jean-Eric was trying to launch his car into space using the hill up to turn one as a launch!

"I didn't have anywhere to go and he had all four wheels locked-up going sideways. The contact broke my front wing and also some of the floor at the rear too. This made the car quite a handful to drive for the rest of the race. Part of my front wing broke off and was caught on JEV's car until Toro Rosso returned it afterwards!

"It's been a really long, hard season and scoring any points is such a great reward for all the hard work that everyone puts in. We want to end the year as strongly as possible - I'm on the hunt for the points I lost out on in Austin."