The Venezuelan driver was knocked out of qualifying in the first session but had a strong start and some entertaining battles en route to 12th. He is encouraged by the steps forward that have been made over the race weekend.
“This was a better weekend for us, with the car showing better race pace which is encouraging,” he said. “I had another strong start and made up a good number of places on the first lap. I was fighting hard at the end of the race to try and get us in to the top ten but unfortunately we didn’t quite make it today. We can take positives from this weekend and I feel we are getting closer to the points so hopefully we can score some more in the final three races.”
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas had a slightly tougher run to the chequered flag. He started the race from 15th but dropped back at the start after struggling for grip. He suffered a radio failure in his first stint and didn’t get enough of a break in clean air.
“The first lap was very slippery for me and I was sliding a lot more than other cars and lost some positions, but my pace in the first stint was getting better and I was getting more and more grip from the tyres,” he admitted. “However I had a radio failure which meant my first pitstop was later than planned and I lost track position, and in the second stint I was fighting closely with a lot of other cars and that traffic cost us a bit of time.”
Like Maldonado, he is encouraged by the improvements made in India: “Our race pace was stronger than in the last few races and I felt that I was on the right strategy, but the lack of running in free air meant that I wasn’t able to capitalise on this and challenge for points.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic