Pastor Maldonado: “The car pace was surprisingly good”

The Lotus F1 Team had one of its most competitive weekends of 2014 at Austin, with Pastor Maldonado securing his first points finish of the year in ninth, with team-mate Romain Grosjean eleventh.

Maldonado secured his first points as a Lotus driver in Austin, despite suffering two five-second penalties, one for speeding behind the safety car and another for a pit lane speed violation. He enjoyed fighting for points, something he hasn’t been able to do with this years car on many occasions.

“It was a great fight from the very beginning; it felt good, the strategy was good and the car pace was surprisingly good,” said Maldonado. “We were fully focused, keeping the pace and managing the tyres. We did lose out in the slow-speed corners but we were very competitive in the medium and high speed turns throughout the first and last sector. That meant we could recover the time lost in the slow ones so we were in the mix.

“Overtaking was challenging because of the speed we have but we still took the fight to others for position, which was great. Let’s keep pushing like that; I think we can do a good job in the next two races.”

Team-mate Grosjean was on course for points before being hit by the Toro Rosso of an optimistic Jean-Eric Vergne heading into turn one towards the end of the race that broke the front wing and floor of his Lotus, and he struggled to keep the car on the track thereafter, finishing just outside the points in eleventh.

“The race was really good, I enjoyed it,” insisted Grosjean. “On the soft tyres, the car was quick; I could follow the Ferraris, and on prime it was a bit more difficult but still enjoyable. Fighting with JB was very very tight but definitely good fun.

“It was less amusing with Jean-Eric though, he broke my front wing and he broke my rear floor, which made the car pretty difficult to drive afterwards. I wasn’t very happy about that as the incident cost me P8. On the plus side, it’s good to be back in the points with Pastor, it’s just a shame not to have been there too.”