Pastor Maldonado: “It’s a very technical circuit”

Pastor Maldonado is looking forward to the second Russian Grand Prix expecting a much easier weekend than he experienced a year ago when he qualified twentieth and finished eighteenth, with the Lotus F1 Team driver hoping to unlock the pace of the E23 Hybrid this weekend.

The Venezuelan arrives at the Sochi Autodrom after finishing inside the points two weeks ago in Japan, but knows the result at Suzuka has no bearing on what could happen in Russia.

“You always approach a race on its own merits so my outlook heading to Russia is not affected by what happened in Japan,” said Maldonado.

“It was positive for us to have a solid race and get some good points, of course, but that is what we try to achieve at every race, regardless of what happened at the one before.”

Looking ahead to the weekend in Russia, Maldonado feels the technical nature of the circuit makes every section of the track important, and admits the first sector is the one he enjoys the most.

“There are very many corners, with a couple of sections of stop and go,” said Maldonado. “It’s quite a long lap and a reasonably technical one too.

“If you make a small mistake in one corner, you are punished for the rest of the lap. If you’re off line for one corner, it might not be until one of the straights that you can recover. Off-line is very slippery too so you’re doubly punished!

“Every single part of this track is important! In terms of enjoyment, I like the first sector the most, but it’s a good track overall.

“It’s a very technical circuit. Last year we saw the grip level improve a lot over the course of the weekend as it was new which meant we really needed to work hard on the set-up to maintain the balance and get the car working as well as it could.

“It will be much easier this year. Last year was all about discovery and learning; this year we should be several steps forward so be able to unlock more pace quicker.”