Pastor Maldonado has brushed off recent mockery regarding his driving ability, following a spare of accidents in the early part of 2014.
The Venezuelan, who is still yet to score a point for Lotus, having joined the team from Williams over the winter, has come in for criticism on social media, with a series of images shared ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix that depict a crashed yacht, making light of the number of accidents that the 29-year-old has been involved in this year.
“It’s OK. It’s funny,” he said. “I’m used to this, a lot of criticism, it’s normal.
“When you come from South America, when you have a country pushing very hard on your back and they are used to always seeing you on top in the lower categories.
“But here in Formula 1 you are not competitive enough to fight for the championship because the cars are different… it’s OK. We live in a free world so people can say whatever they want.”
Pressed on the cause of his scrappy start to the season, Maldonado admitted that it was a combination of issues, that had pushed him to overdrive the car on occasion.
“Maybe trying too hard, but at the same time we were not 100 per cent with the car, so the car was not doing what I wanted,” added the Lotus racer.
“Because I want to do very well, more than I can [with the car], I’m making some mistakes. It’s quite busy in the car with all the switches and buttons, setting changes.
“[We’d had] only a couple of laps, the engine was progressing a lot, so it was like a new car every time [I drove]. It was never easy.
“I made some mistakes, but the team have always accepted my mistakes and for sure we are looking forward to improving, delivering my best as always.”
Maldonado, who is considered something of a specialist around the streets of Monte Carlo, collecting two races wins and a pair of second places over four years in GP2, will be hopeful of finally collecting his first points for Lotus during this weekend’s grand prix.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic