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The First Time - with Lotus's Pastor Maldonado

13 Jun 2014

In 2012 Pastor Maldonado became the first Venezuelan F1 winner with a commanding performance for Williams in Spain. But despite that breakthrough Maldonado remains one of the sport's most intriguing and erratic characters, splitting opinion arguably more than any other driver.

As part of our series to help you get to know the world's best drivers a little better, we caught up with the 29-year old - now at Lotus - to ask about some of the other 'firsts' in his life...

Who was your first hero when you were a child?

Pastor Maldonado: Very clearly Ayrton Senna.

What was the first Grand Prix you can remember watching?

PM: Seems like yesterday: Monza 2002. A very emotional race, with Rubens Barrichello taking the win.

How old were you when you first decided you wanted to be an F1 driver?

PM: I was seven or so years old. It was in the year when Alain Prost in a Williams won the championship with Ayrton Senna finishing second in a McLaren (1993). It was a year when two very different drivers fought it out with knives between their teeth!

When was your first big accident in a race car?

PM: That was in 2001 in a Formula Ford car in Venezuela.

What colour was your first helmet?

PM: Bright red.

When did you win your first trophy in racing and what did it look like?

PM: That was in 1993 - it was my fourth ever race. The trophy was big and silver - and beautiful!

What was the first road car you drove?

PM: An old-style Volkswagen Beetle that belonged to the family - it was in our backyard.

Where was the first house you lived in?

PM: My family home in Maracay, Venezuela.

How nervous were you on your first day of school?

PM: For sure I was not nervous. I think I imagined that I could learn a lot of good things, so I was very much looking forward to that first day.

What was the first meal you ever cooked?

PM: I don't cook - not at all.

What was the first thing you did this morning?

PM: I checked what the time was. I admit that doesn't sound overly exciting, but what do you expect first thing in the morning? (laughs)

What was the first thing you did after getting your first F1 seat?

PM: I spoke with my family to give them the happy news.

What was the first record you bought?

PM: I think it was a Reggeaton CD.

What was the first sport you participated in as a kid?

PM: BMX biking. But I found out pretty fast that four wheels are better than two! (laughs)

When was your first romantic kiss?

PM: When I was seven. I started early.

When was the first time you were asked to sign an autograph for a fan?

PM: In my go-karting days.

When did you first taste champagne?

PM: In 2003 when I was on the podium [in Formula Renault 2.0].

Which would you eat first - a piece of fruit or a piece of chocolate?

PM: A piece of fruit. And I am sure every driver would give that answer nowadays. (laughs)

What was the first word you said as a baby?

PM: I was told it was ‘Mama’.