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Bottas unhappy with Maldonado bold pass on final lap at Suzuka
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Maldonado Bottas
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Oct 2013   |  5:15 pm GMT  |  66 comments

Williams driver Valtteri Bottas has criticised team-mate Pastor Maldonado after the two drivers narrowly avoided a collision at the final chicane on the last lap of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Maldonado, 28, dived down the inside of Bottas at the chicane, forcing the Finn to take avoiding action and cut the chicane. Maldonado crossed the line 16th, one place ahead of Bottas, who was struggling with high tyre degradation at the time.

Bottas, 24, believes they would have crashed if he had attempted to take the corner. The Finn said: “There was no space on the track. It was not fair. If I hadn’t gone straight on we’d have crashed. Racing shouldn’t be like that.”

But Venezuelan Maldonado said: “It was close but quite clean. I got the position. I was faster than him but the strategy on my car was completely wrong. We got 100% from the car. It’s not making any big difference but when you are a racer you always want to take a position from the others.”

The race stewards did not take any action but Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams said the team would look at the incident with both drivers.

Williams chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar told Autosport: “All race, we had Valtteri in front and Pastor behind and we let them race and on the last lap they came close at the last corner, but that’s how it is sometimes. You don’t want to damage the car, but I guess it’s part of racing.”

Maldonado is 17th in the drivers’ standings, having scored just one point this season. Bottas has yet to score. Williams are ninth in the constructors’ championship, 30 points adrift of Toro Rosso in eighth.

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66 Comments
  1. J. Pankow says:

    Valeri, it wasn’t a battle for points so just file that move in the back of your mind so you remember what kind of teammate you have, and perhaps inform him that you’ll return the favor someday.

    1. Michael C says:

      absolutely agree – the man is a rockape but then F1 drivers arent usually after you Claude types I’m afraid…

  2. Krozyc says:

    In iracing I have sometimes made similar mistake and forced other driver of the track. It is just so embarrassing so you give that place back. Otherwise you loose all respect.

    I can’t believe it was leagal move in F1.

  3. KRB says:

    Yeah, as I said on a previous thread, a total DH move from Pastor. For 16th!!! Imagine if they would’ve crashed, over 16th?!! Ridiculous.

    1. Random 79 says:

      For a normal sane person you would be 100% correct, but keep in mind it’s Pastor we’re talking about…scratch that – that probably applies to at least 90% of the F1 drivers out there :)

  4. Nick says:

    Bottas should not be happy, he should be kicking himself, but its fantastic hard racing and I loved it, I really hope Maldonado gets a better drive for next season, so much focus on Nico Hulkenberg at the moment but Pastor Maldonado has won a race and fully deserves to be racing at the front now.

    1. falonso says:

      Why does Maldonado deserve a front racing drive? For winning one race some time ago??? For what I know since then he has impressed far more for what you call hard racing – causing some collisions as sanctioned by stewards – than by his driving skills…

      1. Andrew says:

        You can’t doubt that he is fast. He had his one chance in Spain just last season (what short memories some people have) with a car that was amongst the best and he took it. He didn’t have any car advantage, his teammate was nowhere near, yet he still won.

        I think he would absolutely fly in a Red Bull and Vettel certainly wouldn’t get away with bullying him the way he does with Webber. (Obviously they would never have him at Red Bull for just that reason)

        Yes he has made some mistakes but everybody does early in their careers. His move on Bottas was not much different to Raikkonen’s on Grosjean in Korea. The sort of aggressive move that you expect from the best drivers and which we have seen from Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel in the past.

      2. James says:

        Senna was also very quick that weekend but ended up spinning on his Q1 lap and started 17th.

      3. Antti says:

        How was Räikkönen vs Grosjean in Korea anywhere near anything like Maldonado vs Bottas in Suzuka?

      4. andrew says:

        He wasn’t quick in quali. He was struggling to qualify and then took another set of new tyres but spun at one of the last corners. He was over a second slower and never looked like getting in the top ten.

      5. Bartholomew says:

        Maldonado is and was extremely inconsistent though. The sheer number of errors, crashes, and underperformances he showed last year easily rule him out from being able to cut it at any top team. He might be fast on his day, but same went for Webber, Massa and Kovalainen. Vettel, Alonso or Hamilton would destroy Maldonado.

      6. Nick says:

        Yes I do think Maldonado deserves a seat in a top team, his win was only last year and it was very impressive under constant pressure from Alonso, and I very much admire his competitive spirit which means he is prepared to take a risk and try to overtake, I guess its down to what you enjoy watching in a grand prix.

      7. TimW says:

        I guess if you rate Pastor so highly you must rate Valtteri even higher seeing as he has outqualified Pastor 9/6 in his rookie season….

    2. Peldo says:

      I really wonder of the drivers Williams will have next season. I think PM brings more money to the team and has one point but VB is rookie and basically equal on track performance. Quali is 9-6 for Bottas and race 8-7 for Maldonado. I am hoping both of them can secure drive and show the potential which I believe both have. However there is financial pressure that maybe VB is unable to cope. Maybe PM is taking his sponsorship elsewhere. Williams is somehow open for next year. Any news on their plans for drivers next year?

  5. VV says:

    James: is there any credibility to the story posted on the Beeb’s web site that says (per Eddie Jordan) that Maldonado probably won’t be at Williams next year and that Claire W. was recently in Venezuela talking to PDVSA?

    1. James Allen says:

      There’s no smoke without fire in Eddie’s stories

      My impression is that Willams has PDVSA for another year

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        I think MALDONADO -a F1 winner- is wasting his time in the actual Williams team, and PDVSA too, why they could seriously want to stay there in 2014?

  6. Sparckus says:

    If they weren’t in the same team he would’ve got a penalty after the race for that.

    The man is an arse.

  7. Steve says:

    Really over-aggressive move IMO – he pushed him off track seemingly on purpose. Bottas did give him room – but the lunge seemed out of anger – just as when Maldonado came back on track and crashed into Lewis. Not a fan of Maldonado.

  8. Tommy says:

    He’s starting to sound like another Webber.

    Do we need another Webber?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Since our current Webber is leaving at the end of the year it can’t hurt to shop around :)

    2. jakobusvdl says:

      Sure do

  9. gpfan says:

    Pastor has always seemed, to me, to
    be a bit of a hot-head. But, he has
    won a race.

    If I was Bottas, I would take the
    advice of J. Pankow. Revenge is a
    dessert best served cold.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Sure Maldonado can do banzais up the inside, but could you imagine his reaction if Bottas overtook him on the outside…for the final point say? :D

  10. Martin says:

    At least it got people talking about Williams, what a dog of a car both drivers have had all season, it looks like 1 point will be all Williams get this year, such a shame after winning a race in 2012, surely they cant build a car as bad as this one for next season, thank god the regulation chamges are here it might just give them a chance.
    James please give me something positive about the FW36.

    1. Andrew says:

      It won’t be the FW35!

    2. Phil says:

      It’ll have the Merc powertrain won’t it?

    3. Wade Parmino says:

      I thought it wasn’t possible for Williams to build a worse car than the 2011 one but this season I was proven wrong. It’s a sad situation with Williams’ current form.

  11. Martin says:

    At least it got people talking about Williams, what a dog of a car both drivers have had all season, it looks like 1 point will be all Williams get this year, such a shame after winning a race in 2012, surely they cant build a car as bad as this one for next season, thank god the regulation changes are here it might just give them a chance.
    James please tell me something positive about the FW36.

  12. James M says:

    What annoys me somewhat about this situation, regardless of the position they were fighting for, is that this pass, which could easily have resulted in contact, was deemed legal, wheras the Grosjean/Massa pass in Hungary and the Ricciardo pass at 130R were deemed illegal, as was a very innocuous move by the backmarkers in Korea. I know they’re completely different passes, but two of those were clean and didn’t involve another driver being forced off the track, so it’s a bit beyond me where the boundaries of acceptability are when it comes to aggressive passes – it almost seems as though th implication is “forcing another driver off the track to pass is fine, as long as you don’t go off the track yourself”. Curious.

    1. Random 79 says:

      It’s a bit like when Button and Perez wherw racing (in Bahrain I think, don’t quote me on it) and bumping each other.

      That kind of thing between teammates seems to be given more leeway than a battle between two drivers from different teams.

      Williams say they are going to take a look so I’m guessing any reprimands will be coming directly from them, but I’m not sure what you can do when the guy you’re supposed to be stomping on is the guy bringing in the cash.

    2. tank says:

      Probably to do with being inter team

  13. Anil Parmar says:

    James, what is the paddock consensus on Bottas? I think he’s had a stunning year and he could be a winner in the long term imo.

    1. KRB says:

      Dunno about ‘stunning’, but he’s impressed at times. Qualifying in Canada, obviously, but even better there was how he raced the initial laps, specifically with Alonso. He raced him hard and fair, but not to the point of stupidity.

      1. Anil Parmar says:

        Agreee! He has a wise head on him thats for sure.

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      Apart from Canada he has been mediocre at best, even considering the car he is driving.

  14. williams are but a footnote in F1 history. time to move on.

    1. ThatLindseyGuy says:

      Williams may not be the most successful team in F1 right now, but a footnote in F1 history?!

      Hardly.

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      Red Bull may become a footnote in F1 history but certainly not Williams.

      1. James Allen says:

        I think both have achieved enough to merit a chapter, not a footnote

      2. Peter says:

        Sir Frank’s Williams are due a volume, not a chapter.
        Red Bull’s success is thanks to Adrian Newey, a Williams ‘apprentice’. Williams have won both championships in two millennia and five decades. Red Bull maybe worth a chapter already but certainly not a volume. Sir Frank’s personal journey is a compelling story in itself.

    3. TimW says:

      I think your getting a bit carried away there! There’s no reason why, with a bit of extra investment, Williams couldn’t be at the front again. F1 history is littered with similar stories.

  15. Random 79 says:

    Chalk it up to experience Valtteri…and if you happen to see Pastor ahead of you next time you know what to do ;)

  16. GRLap says:

    Pastor must have been watching tape from 1989; that is the same move that Ayrton Senna put on Prost and Nannini. A classic Senna move: put his competitor into a compromising position where the competitor must decide to either back off and let him through, or crash.

    1. KRB says:

      Seemed it was an easy decision for Prost to make back in ’89, huh?

      1. GRLap says:

        Right, for Prost it was better to crash them both out. For Nannini it was better to back off and let him through. I guess for Bottas it was better to let him through. A cheap, sleazy move by Pastor given nothing was ion the line. Perhaps Senna can be forgiven given that in both cases it was for the world driver’s championship.

    2. KARTRACE says:

      Senna never fought over 16th place, get to grips.

  17. forzaminardi says:

    Ditch Maldonado and bring back Rubens! They really shot themselves in the foot ditching the legendary Brazilian.

    1. Gudien says:

      Surely you jest

      1. forzaminardi says:

        Only partly – Rubens wiped out Maldonado in ’11 and if we credit Maldonado with impressive speed in 2012, while Rubens may have lagged behind in outright terms, he’d have been sure to log plenty of points and podiums in the 2012 car.

        Who knows how serious his hopes of returning are regarded, but if he has sponsorship he’s got to be worth considering with his record, technical experience and passionate commitment to the cause!

      2. Andrew says:

        Rubens didn’t wipe Maldonado out in 2011 at all. Look at the facts please.

        From memory it was 9-8 in quali to Rubens and 6-5 on races that they finished. Maldonado would have scored more points were it not for the accident with Hamilton at Monaco. (obviously he was partly to blame for that) Rubens therefore scored a couple more points but over the season they were very close.

        Maldonado however had the best performance of their season at Monaco in terms of competitiveness.

        Forza Minardi, I think you’re thinking of 2010 when Barrichello outperformed Hulkenberg.

    2. Wade Parmino says:

      Bringing back Rubens would be good, but to replace Bottas, not Maldonado.

  18. Seifenkistler says:

    Somehow reminds be at soccer. If an attacker shots a ball which is in the height of the head of a nearby defender:
    If the defender doesn’t at least try to play the ball with the head the referees do most times nothing with a clear advantage for the attacker.
    If the defender tries to play and riscs a head injury they react and often with a yellow card for the attacker.

    It is a yes no decision for the marschalls and where the border is between yes and no is depends on many factors.

    Perhaps they should make a computer decide: pop up screen with questions like:

    Who is responsible that a car had to evade outside the track: driver/opponent.
    Who gained advantage: driver/opponent
    Was there an overtaking outside the track: yes/no

    For each of the possible combinations the computer has a list how to react.

    3 Marschall fill in the answers secretly: 2 of three decision

  19. Elie says:

    I’m already a Bottas fan and the young Finn is certainly a future star F1- if not already. The move from Maldonado had desperation written all over it. He’s probably negotiating his contract and cannot have a rookie beating him..I think Pastor is fast but he’s equally crazy, if not for the smarts from Valteri they would have but lost out.

  20. Fireman says:

    Bottas should’ve just maintain speed when he cut the corner, keeping ahead of Maldonado and crossing the finish line before him.

  21. Dale says:

    Such a shame seeing Williams where they are.
    Along with McLaren and Ferrari they were the backbone of modern formula 1.
    Now if only they could entice the likes of Brawn or better still get Newey on board (maybe with a part ownership incentive)……

    1. gpfan says:

      You see? That is the difference age makes.
      “Modern” F1 to me, means that the backbone
      would not include Williams, but rather Lotus
      (the Real one) and Tyrrell.

      Bruno JackO’Malley for WDC in 2014!

      1. Random 79 says:

        Agreed – if you ask the kids today they’ll likely say it’s Red Bull.

        Each generation is going to have certain teams imprinted on them, and while I don’t dispute you I do tend to lean in Dale’s direction :)

      2. Dale says:

        Being nearly 60 (not so young though maybe you’re nearer Murry’s age) and having been an avid fan of F1 since the the 60′s I reckon I’ve seen as mush if not more than most whom post on this blog and I purposely used the term ‘modern’ F1 in my thread.
        If you haven’t seen it go and see the film ‘Rush’ as it gives a flavour of how F1 was even in Lauda’s early days – the likes of Frank Williams, Patrick Head and probably even more so Ron Dennis took F1 to another professional level and that coupled with the money coming in from Ecclestone’s efforts is what I consider to be the start of ‘modern F1′ :)
        That said, Lotus in the 60′s and Colin Chapman was, in my opinion the Newey of his day and Jim Clark is, again in my opinion equal number 1 driver of all time along with Senna, how many posters on this blog really know anything about just how good Jim Clark was? I suspect not many – race wins and championships don’t tell half the full story…..

      3. Random 79 says:

        Going to go see it when it finally filters down to our cinema near the end of the month – looking forward to it :)

  22. Fernando Cruz says:

    Bottas tends to be beaten by Maldonado in race pace, while last year Bruno Senna tended to be faster than the venezuelan in most of the races, mainly in the second half of the year. In qualifying it is the other way round, Bottas is doing much better than Bruno did in comparison with Pastor. But we have to consider Bruno lost all those FP1.s and that this year’s tyres don’t suit so much Pastor style for qualifying. It’s a shame Williams car is so poor this year, this way we can’t really see what Bottas can do. He was brilliant under the rain (qualifying in Canada), but so was Bruno (2nd in Brazil Q1 with wet track, overtaking everyone in Malaysia GP while the track was wet…)

    1. Miran says:

      I agree, and i would love to see what Bruno could do next year with the new power train and new cars. In 2012 he could not turn on the tyres for qualy, and that’s him to blame, but he showed constant race improvement and had really good race starts. James, do you think there’s a slight chance of him getting a drive in 2014?

  23. KARTRACE says:

    Being “fast” with no control and brains means 0.

  24. Kenneth M'Boy says:

    Bottas sounds like he is letting out frustrations of being in a Williams as he is not shining like he was proclaimed to by the team last year. I hope he gets a better car next year to show some sort of potential otherwise he’ll be just another promising rookie who didn’t make the grade. But if he doesn’t i won’t lose sleep, he’s not a very interesting personality. I doubt he will make it.

  25. aveli says:

    maldonado should be kicked out of f1 for driving the way he does.

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