Pastor Maldonado will forever remain one of the greatest enigmas in the history of Formula 1. First surprised by his victory in Barcelona in 2012, he never turned his back on his values. A mix between confrontations and penalties. Like during the 2015 Hungarian GP.
When we say Pastor Maldonado’s name, two images instinctively come to mind. The first: his victory in the GP of Barcelona 2012, as predictable as the coronation of Greece in Euro 2004. The second image is the string of crashes produced at the wheel of his single-seater. But another aspect of his piloting is too often unknown to the general public; his taste (very) pronounced for penalties.
During the 2014 season, the Venezuelan achieved a feat at the wheel of his Lotus. In fact, he manages to get more penalties than points. His two small drives on the counter pale in comparison to the ten penalties he’s taken over the course of the season. So as he approaches his second season with the Lotus F1 Team in 2015, it goes without saying that Pastor is highly motivated. He doesn’t know it yet, but it will also be his last season in Formula 1. And for good reason.
A bad start to the season
During the winter holidays, hopes are very high on the Lotus side. In fact, the team is no longer powered by Renault, but by Mercedes. This change injects an infinite dose of hope intravenously to all Lotus supporters. Especially because during the tests in Barcelona, Maldonado personally set the best time of the first day. And the recurrence 48 hours later during the third day of the test. Then maybe
The start of the season, however, puts the church in the middle of the town, and Maldonado at the bottom of the grid. The Lotus driver retired in his first three races and scored zero points in the first six Grands Prix of the season. Better, Pastor hangs Grosjean, his own teammate, in Barcelona and during the first round of Silverstone. Nobody would have imagined for a second that Lotus would sign a convincing double at Silverstone.
Sticking the number 13 on his car may not have been Pastor’s best idea. With him, it feels like all his races take place on a Friday.
Hungarian GP, Shepherd’s coronation
After his stroke of genius at the start of Silverstone, Maldonado and F1 packed their bags in Hungary. Having experienced such an incident in England, one might think that caution is warranted at the Hungaroring. But the Venezuelan, who has inherited a new nickname: Crashtor Maldonado, is misunderstood.
If all the drivers put on soft tires at the start, only one of them caught all his rivals on the wrong foot by choosing medium tires. His name ? Maldonado, of course. From the 14th position, the latter bets everything on a unique strategy. But he was too quick to forget that Sergio Pérez is leaving alongside him. A seventh line you fear.
It’s all good when the lights go out though, we’re gossips. At least, before that famous 19th round. Sergio Pérez exits the pit right behind Maldonado, who has not yet stopped. The Mexican tries to take him out in the first corner, but Pastor is too lazy to lose another position. So he crushes it and gives it a wheel, Perez spins on the decoration. Maldonado suffers his first penalty of the day; a journey through But not his last.
Maldonado, a record that still stands
When Pastor learns that he has to make a pit stop, the Lotus team believes that this is the right time to take care of Grosjean’s fate. His team lets him go too fast in the pit lane, about to collide with another driver. The Frenchman receives a five-second penalty. Lotus, this little brother of the Scuderia.
But the Venezuelan does not want to be overshadowed. On lap 60, he received another drive-through for exceeding the speed limit in the pit lane. We never get tired. Do you honestly think Maldonado will be satisfied? Eight laps later, he received a third penalty, this time of 10 seconds. The reason ? Shepherd passed Manor driver Will Stevens under the safety car regime.
Three penalties received in a single F1 race, no driver had ever managed to achieve such a masterpiece. Maldonado finished his race 14th, with a sense of accomplishment. Only to dash his last hope of continuing his F1 adventure the following year, Crashtor pulverizes his Lotus at the next race, at Spa. But always in style.
2015, the consecration of Maldonado
With 9 casualties in 18 races, and a 17-2 suffered in qualifying against Grosjean, Pastor’s level during the 2015 season is such that he is grateful. So, to celebrate this news, he is ending his F1 adventure with another retirement on the first lap of his last race. Maldonado is a driver who leaves nothing to chance.
But the Venezuelan does not leave Formula 1 without leaving behind a heavy legacy. Indeed, it ranks first in a commendable ranking. Having received the most penalties since his debut in 2011. With 29 penalties in five seasons, no one does it better than the Venezuelan. Not even Romain Grosjean, who “only” occupies second place with 13 penalties. It’s enough to say that Romain disappoints us a lot, about to talk about a Franco-Swiss.
However, we couldn’t go without this fabulous remix that pays tribute to this unique racing duo.