Pastor Maldonado has bemoaned his “unlucky” incident during the early stages of the second practice session, which saw the Venezuelan driver crash his Lotus heavily at the exit of turn nine.
Only eight minutes into the second practice session in preparation for the Belgian Grand Prix, Maldonado brought out the first of two red flag delays after he lost control of his car on the exit of turn nine and collided heavily with the retaining armco barrier.
After the session Maldonado described the cause of his incident as 50/50 between driver error and wheel spin. After running wide and onto the grass, the car spun and began the chain reaction which led to his incident. The 29-year-old added that neither the car nor himself was to blame for the incident, instead complaining of a lack of luck as a cause for his accident.
“It was maybe 50/50, I just lost the car from the beginning because of the wheel spin and then I touched the grass,” Maldonado told reporters at Spa. “It was a bit unlucky but it was nothing related to the car or myself, it was just unlucky.”
Once Maldonado had extracted himself from his broken Lotus, the medical car collected him and took him to the medical centre for a precautionary check. Despite being swiftly taken to the medical centre immediately after his incident, Maldonado later explained that the doctor sent him straight back to the garage with his check-up proving all clear. The Venezuelan also talked down the severity of the shunt, stating that it most probably looked worse than it actually was.
“I just went for that quick check-up, I was ok and the doctor said you don’t need to be here so they sent me straight back to the garage,” he explained. “It [the incident] looked big, but it wasn’t actually that big. The problem was that I got huge wheel-spin on the exit of turn nine, I touched the gravel and that was it. The problem came at the exit of the corner and I lost the car, there was nothing to do.”
Despite missing the entire second practice session, Maldonado remains confident that he can bounce back from his incident, believing that Lotus can score points this weekend.
“We had some problems in P1, that was why we were delayed,” he said. “On the brakes we saw some problems. The car doesn’t look too bad, we were expecting different issues, but we’ll do our best tomorrow and still we have a good chance to be close to the top ten. Then in the race, everything can happen so lets try to compensate with the lack of downforce in sector two and try to get the maximum from every single point of the track. I think it’s possible to have a good weekend.”
In stark contrast to his Lotus team-mate, Romain Grosjean believes a points finish this weekend is unlikely despite a relatively positive start to his Belgian Grand Prix weekend. Instead of the optimism voiced by Maldonado with regards being able to finish within the top ten, Grosjean believes the team can only realistically expect to finish between 12th and 16th come race day unless inclement weather spices up the action like last time out in Budapest.
“It was not as bad as I was expecting in FP1,” explained Grosjean. “We had a small technical issue on the rear of the car early on in the run, so hopefully that will explain the loss of performance. We knew it would be a track where we suffer. At the moment, I wouldn’t say that the top ten is possible. Probably in between 12th and 15th, 16th. But again, the weather may change and that always helps you a little bit when you’re struggling.”
Lotus currently sit eighth in the Constructors’ Championship with eight points, all of which have come from Romain Grosjean, whilst Pastor Maldonado is still searching for his first points of the season.
Image(s) courtesy of Octane Photographic