The Strange case of Maldonado: Barcelona & Monaco 2012
Cast your mind back to the heady Summer of 2012, where Pastor Maldonado, Bruno Senna and the Williams FW34 were trying to improve upon the fine traditions of the previous three seasons. Well, if by “fine”, you mean no top three finishes, 20 retirements, and 53 finishes by either driver that were outside the top ten. #strong
The 2012 season, with Bruno “nephew of racing god Ayrton” Senna and crazed Venezuelan Pastor “I bring a LOT of money to the team” Maldonado tried their best to buck that trend of below averageness. First four races, one retirement, four finishes outside the top 10 BUT China had seen the first double points scored since Korea in 2010. #ItsNotGood #ButItsOk
So off we trot to Barcelona – the fifth round of the Championship, and an opportunity for the teams to bring a number of fancy aerodynamic upgrades to the track.
None of this was going to help Williams massively though? Right? Hello?
Whilst Bruno “not quite as good as his uncle” Senna qualified in a distant 18th place, Pastor was in tune with his car and qualified in an amazing 2nd place on the grid, behind the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton. And when Hamilton was sent to the back of the grid for not having enough go-go juice in his car at the end of quali, Pastor “king of the track” Maldonado was on pole!
And in a nip and tuck battle with Fernando Alonso, and some excellent strategy calls, Pastor “flawless” Maldonado, in the FW34 won.
So off to Monaco we go, full of high hopes and optimism!
Riding the crest of the wave, Pastor decided it was time to go “full tilt” on the craziness…
Final practice saw a running battle with Sergio Perez, with the not quite rational decision to turn into the Sauber driver. A lovely trip to the stewards ensued and was promptly handed a ten-place grid penalty. But let’s not forget that in the couple of following laps, young Pastor introduced his car to barriers at Casino Square. What a mess. Lovely.
Quali, for what it was worth, was a creditable ninth – but added to that penalty was also a gearbox change. You go down 15 places please…
As for the race, Pastor misjudged his braking, and introduced his front wing to the rear wing of the HRT driven by Pedro de le Rosa.
There we have Pastor Maldonado – from the sublime to the ridiculous in 14 days.