Pastor Rafael Maldonado Motta (born March 9, 1985 in Maracay, Venezuela) is a Formula One driver currently driving for Lotus-Renault alongside Romain Grosjean. Maldonado made his F1 debut at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix driving for Williams, becoming the first Venezuelan driver in Formula One since Johnny Cecotto in 1984.
At the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, four weeks after the 70th birthday of team boss, Sir Frank Williams, Maldonado secured a surprising victory from pole position. The win was Maldonado's first ever, and Williams' first win since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix.
After a disappointing 2013 season in which the Venezuelan scored only a single point, he joined Romain Grosjean at Lotus for 2014, with his supposed permanent car number being #3, but later switched to #13, breaking Formula One tradition and was only the third ever Formula One driver to use number 13, after Moises Solana in 1963 and Divina Galica in 1976. He became the first Formula One driver to score with the number at the 2014 United States Grand Prix.
Formula 1 Career
In his first race at Australia, Maldonado was the first DNF all year because of transmission problems. He also retired in Malaysia when an engine failure ended his race. China was his first classified finish, although he finished 18th in the standings, way outside the points. In Turkey, Maldonado failed to score points again, finishing 17th. He finished in a much better position in Spain, in 15th, but again scored no points.
In Monaco, Maldonado was running in sixth place with five laps remaining, and on course for his first points, when Lewis Hamilton took him out of the race at the Sainte Dévote corner. Maldonado was still classified 18th in the standings, and team-mate Barrichello finished 9th, giving the Williams team their first points of the season. In Canada, Maldonado spun out of the race, forcing him to retire. At Valencia, Maldonado still failed to score, finishing 18th.
Maldonado scored the first point of his career in the Belgian GP, finishing tenth. However, this was to be the only point in his debut season, as he wouldn't score any more.
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Maldonado's 2012 season looked very promising following strong races in Melbourne and Sepang. In Australia, he had been running in the points following a good showing in qualifying, placing him 8th on the grid. However, after good battles over the lesser points places, Maldonado lost control and crashed on the final lap while fighting for 5th.
In Malaysia, Pastor's pace was good again in treacherous conditions. Having qualifying 11th, Maldonado found himself in contention for a place in the top ten. Unfortunately, his luck failed him again, and he was forced to retire on the penultimate lap with engine failure. He had been running 10th.
Maldonado's luck changed for the better in China, where another good showing saw him bring home his first points finish of the season. He finished 8th, scoring 4 World Championship points.
Bahrain was an unfortunate race during which Maldonado faced a grid penalty, setting him back to 21st on the grid. Following a good start at which he gained 5 places, Maldonado found himself battling the likes of Sergio Pérez and Paul di Resta for the midfield places. Never reached a top ten place before retiring on the 25th lap due to a puncture.
Williams then went to Spain celebrating the 70th birthday of team boss Sir Frank Williams. They also brought a lot of unexpected performance to the event, looking very strong in Practice. In qualifying, team-mate Senna struggled and failed to make it past Q1. Maldonado, on the other hand was outstanding, setting the fastest time in Q2, and being beaten only by Lewis Hamilton in Q3. Maldonado was delighted at second place in qualifying, and his happiness was amplified a few hours later when Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from qualifying as he had stopped on track on his in-lap, promoting Maldonado to his first ever F1 Pole position. In the race, Maldonado put on an impressive display, fighting off Fernando Alonso for most of the race, to claim his maiden race victory, Williams' first in more than 7 years.
In 2013, Maldonado was beaten by his new team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the standings. While he finished 10th in Hungary and scored his sole point of the year. Bottas went two better and finished 8th in the United States, scoring four points, his maiden in F1. As neither would score again, Bottas was the better of the Williamses.
Maldonado would leave the team at the end of the year to join Lotus.
Maldonado stunned the F1 paddock by announcing that his permanent number for 2014 and beyond would be 13, a number regularly avoided in FIA-sanctioned series.
This made him the first Formula One driver in 38 years to use the number and the third overall.
His season got off to a woeful start in Australia when his ERS failed, preventing him from finishing the race. His Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean followed suit 14 laps later. Maldonado would also retire in Malaysia.
Then, he became the first driver to finish a Grand Prix with the number 13 when he finished 14th in Bahrain, despite an accident with Esteban Gutiérrez in which the Mexican's car was rolled over which earned Maldonado a 5-place grid penalty for the next race.
Formula One Statistical Overview
Formula One Record
|Year||Entrant||Team||WDC Points||WDC Pos.||Report|
|2004||Minardi Cosworth||Minardi-Ford Cosworth||Test driver|
|2005–2009: Did not compete|
|2010||HRT F1 Team||HRT-Cosworth||Test driver|
|2012||Williams F1 Team||Williams-Renault||45||15th||Report|
|2013||Williams F1 Team||Williams-Renault||1||18th||Report|
|2014||Lotus F1 Team||Lotus-Renault||2||16th||Report|
|2015||Lotus F1 Team||Lotus-Mercedes||Yet to start|
Correct as of 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix
|Front Row Starts||2|
|Distance Raced||14897.96 km (9257 mi)|
|Distance Led||172.235 km (107 mi)|
|Win Number||Grand Prix|
|1||2012 Spanish Grand Prix|
|Complete Formula One results|
|3rd||DNQ||Did not qualify|
|5th||Points finish||DNPQ||Did not pre-qualify|
|14th||Non-points finish||TD||Test driver|
|NC||Non-classified finish (<90% race distance)||DNS||Did not start|
|Italics||Scored point(s) for Fastest Lap||[+] More Symbols|
- ↑ Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations:
Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event. Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power. ()
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Did not finish, but was classified as he had completed over 90% of race distance
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