Pastor Maldonado: “It was a really difficult race”

by Paul Hensby

The Lotus F1 Team failed to score any points in the Singapore Grand Prix, with Pastor Maldonado finishing down in twelfth, while Romain Grosjean was classified thirteenth despite retiring with two laps remaining.

Maldonado was in the thick of the action during the race, with contact with the McLaren-Honda of Jenson Button breaking his diffuser which added to the wear-rate of his tyres, which ultimately saw him drop out of points contention.

“It was a really difficult race,” said Maldonado. “The contact from the McLaren was small but enough to break my diffuser.

“I was defending on the inside and I don’t know where Jenson wanted to overtake me. It’s a very narrow corner where it happened and there was no chance for him to overtake.

“The damage meant we lost performance at the rear at the time in the race when we wanted to preserve tyre life. Sadly it wasn’t possible to maintain the pace and the tyres so we had to make an additional, unplanned stop.”

Team-mate Grosjean also ended the race without scoring points, and rued the introduction of the Virtual Safety Car that ultimately saw him drop down out of the points, before fading in the closing stages with tyre wear and a possible problem with his gearbox that saw the Frenchman drop out of the race with two laps remaining.

“We had an aggressive strategy planned for today, which looked good since we were as high as P8 at one point but the first virtual safety car cost us dearly,” revealed Grosjean.

“I lost a lot of places on the first lap, there was quite a lot of sliding going on and, as we knew this wouldn’t be a great track for us – like Hungary and Monaco – we knew it would be difficult.

“There was nothing left in the tyres towards the end of the race and as soon as we were out of the points, we chose to retire the car as we had some concerns with the gearbox and didn’t want to risk a penalty in Japan.”

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