The Venezuelan driver is expecting the Enstone-based outfit to be more competitive at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and is confident that he can come away from the weekend with a good result. He finished the last race in China one lap down in 14th place.
The Spanish Grand Prix is the first European round of the year and is the first chance for teams to introduce major upgrade packages. “I’m expecting to be more competitive,” he explained. “It will be very important to start scoring some points, but if everything goes well and we get some luck too then a top five is possible.
“It is going to be difficult – there are the two Mercedes and two Red Bulls and then others who have shown good pace in recent races like Force India – but if we get 100% from the car we can fight all of the other teams and come away with something good to build on.”
Maldonado is a previous winner of the race after holding off Fernando Alonso to take the chequered flag in first back in 2012. Looking back at the weekend, he said: “It was a great day in my career, a strong race and victory over Fernando Alonso in his home event. People forget that we were outside the top ten on Friday and then everything came together.
“We qualified second – pole after Lewis Hamilton was disqualified – and I knew there was a chance to win the race. I just felt so calm and ready to win. That weekend, after being 17th in first practice, shows why you must never give up in Formula 1. It also gave me more confidence because my first year in F1 had been difficult, but as soon as the car was competitive I was up there, fighting with the top drivers.”
Image courtesy of Lotus F1 Team