Stewarding can be tough, admits Maldonado

Leave a comment

Pastor Maldonado admits the penalties dished out by F1’s stewards can be “quite strong”.

The Williams driver receive a ten second stop-and-go penalty during the Belgian Grand Prix for colliding with Paul di Resta (pictured), putting the Force India driver out of the race.

“If you make a mistake you must be penalized,” Maldonado told ESPN. “But the decision they take sometimes can be quite strong. That’s my opinion.”

But Maldonado disagreed with his penalty in Belgium: “I think what happened in Spa is clear; very clear and obvious. And I think it’s unfair that I got the penalty.”

It was Maldonado’s third penalty so far this season. Last year he collected ten penalties – twice as many as any other driver – although three of them were for technical reasons such as gearbox changes.

The year before Maldonado received five penalties, more than any other driver bar Lewis Hamilton. He has often attracted attention for the wrong reasons, notably his controversial collisions with Hamilton during qualifying at Spa in 2011, and with Sergio Perez at Monaco last year.

Maldonado shrugged off his reputation for being accident-prone, saying: “I’m racing, this is racing. My reputation is another thing.”

“I will race and if some people think something about me then they are free. I cannot say ‘don’t think that’.”

Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama

Photos: IndyCar
Leave a comment

The rain didn’t stop following the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, and neither did the jousting between drivers.

An angry Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud confronted Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves after the race, complaining that Chaves would not let Pagenaud get past him in the closing laps.

Instead of ending up with a hoped-for Top 5, Pagenaud wound up with a ninth-place finish. Chaves, meanwhile, finished 17th, two laps down.

The confrontation turned into a battle of words and profanity between the two drivers, as captured on Twitter by AutoWeek’s Matt Weaver.

Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.

Gabby Chaves

First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:

“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.

“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”

When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.

“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.

“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”

NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.

 

“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.

“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.

“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”

Follow @JerryBonkowski