Having qualified in a lowly 15th position on Saturday, the Venezuelan wrestled his FW35 to 10th in a hard-fought race – ending a run of nine consecutive races without a point.
Maldonado, who took Williams’ last race victory in the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, hopes his result in Budapest will his colleagues to further improve following the August break.
The 28-year-old told AUTOSPORT: “I know one point is not enough, but it is a good step to start.
“Now we are at the half-season (point), so we have many races to go and I hope to be in the points from here to the end.
“The potential is so huge. We just need to put everything together and we will be fighting for the points.
“At the beginning of the year we were struggling a lot and it’s quite good to go into the break with a point to keep morale high.
“We need to keep improving. On the aerodynamic side, there are still some points we can improve on and we are working very hard on that.
“It is a small step forward, but it is not enough. We need to keep improving, especially in qualifying.”
Having previously struggled to warm to the initially troublesome FW35, Maldonado revealed that improvements made to the car have over time allowed him to feel more at ease at the wheel and have therefore permitted the South American to manipulate the Williams.
He added: “Before, I was completely dominated by the tyres and the car. They were not working at all in my case.
“Now, I think it was so clear that my level was a step forwards and I was able to fight with cars that are stronger than us.”
Maldonado’s points-scoring opportunities are likely to become ever-more frequent when Pat Symonds, a former championship winner with Benetton and Renault, officially replaces the already departed Technical Director Mike Coughlan on August 19.
Symonds, who will adopt the role of Chief Technical Officer, will be charged with making further amendments to the 2013 car while overseeing work on next season’s Williams as the team hopes to relive its former title-winning glories.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic