Pastor Maldonado says that a loss of concentration was not to blame for the last lap crash that cost the Williams driver a sixth place finish in today’s Qantas Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The Venezuelan, who scored points on just one occasion last year, proved highly competitive in the opening race of the 2012 season.
His career best run came to an end at Turn 7 on the final lap however, where the Williams spun and made heavy contact with the inside wall while chasing Fernando Alonso.
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Maldonado later admitted that he had given up on trying to pass the Spaniard following a lengthy dice, but said he was still fully concentrated at the time of the crash.
“I don’t know, it was a very fast moment, I just feel that I lost the back of the car and that was it, I was in the wall,” he said when asked to explain the accident.
“I accept already (that I was going to finish behind Alonso) because I try my last time in Turn 3, but it was not possible because I was not so close in Turn 1.
“It was not a concentration thing, because it was just a couple of corners from doing a great race for 15 laps.
“Perhaps I got too close to Fernando at the exit, got wheel spin and lost the car. I was concentrated, pushing as normal, and looking at the tyres at the same time. I was enjoying the fight with Fernando.”
Maldonado had also been involved in an incident that ended Romain Grosjean’s race on the opening lap – the front-right suspension of the Lotus breaking after contact with the right-rear of the Williams.
Despite the incidents, Maldonado described the race as his best ever Grand Prix performance, and believes that Williams can again perform strongly in Malaysia next weekend.
“Next weekend will be interesting for everybody,” he said.
“The McLaren looks pretty strong, and even the Red Bulls, but we are not that far (behind). We are there, so close. I think we have been quicker than Ferrari, and quicker than Sauber and Force India as well.”
Maldonado’s team-mate Bruno Senna retired from the Australian Grand Prix following a late collision with Felipe Massa, ensuring Williams would walk away from Albert Park empty handed for the second consecutive year.