Pastor Maldonado has claimed he “didn’t see” Paul Di Resta just moments before crashing into the Scot, causing his retirement from the Belgian Grand Prix. Maldonado recovered to finish 17th but not after a drive-through penalty and an unscheduled trip to the pits for repairs.
The Venezuelan started the race from 17th on the grid after he was sent out too early on the intermediate tyres in Q1. He made decent progress over the course of the race and was involved in a fierce battle for the final points finishes before the clash.
Maldonado made contact with Adrian Sutil after the first apex of the Bus Stop Chicane, damaging his front wing. He steered right to take to the pit lane but Paul Di Resta was on the outside. The two made contact, Di Resta’s car was thrown into the air and he was out of the race. Speaking on the incident, Maldonado said in a team statement: “I then had a collision with Di Resta in the final corner when our lines crossed as I was entering the pits. It was a difficult situation because I was fighting hard with the Sauber and I didn’t see Di Resta on the outside as I turned toward the pit lane. I tried to brake to avoid the accident but it was too late.”
He added: “It wasn’t a good weekend for us but we need to keep working hard and improving the performance of the car.”
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas had a much cleaner race and stayed out of trouble to finish 15th. However, he struggled for pace and that meant it was difficult to keep up with the cars in front: “Today’s race was not the easiest for us. We were struggling for pace in sector two and this made it difficult to get close to the cars in front and once I had been overtaken it was very difficult to regain the place. We will have to go away and understand why our race pace was not as strong today as it has been and try to make improvements in time for Monza.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic