Maldonado blames Gutierrez for leaving him “nowhere to go”

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Pastor Maldonado has pointed the finger at Esteban Gutierrez for leaving him nowhere to go and causing the incident that saw the Sauber car flip over onto its roll cage.

Heading down into the first corner, the two drivers made contact and Gutierrez’s car flipped before finally coming to rest the right way up in the run off area. The Mexican driver walked away unharmed, but was taken to hospital shortly after the race for a routine check-up. The team has since confirmed that he got the all clear from the officials in Bahrain.

Maldonado was immediately given a 10 second stop/go penalty by the stewards, as well as being handed a five place grid penalty for the next race in China and three penalty points on his FIA superlicense. However, the Lotus driver has pointed the finger at Gutierrez for causing the incident.

“We will need to have a look again at what happened as Esteban seemed to be off his line coming into turn one,” Maldonado explained to the media in Bahrain. “Maybe he missed his braking point, I don’t know. And by then I was in the corner with nowhere to go.

“For sure it’s difficult to understand and I was coming out from the pits and with cold tires,” he added. “I think he was very unlucky and it’s good he jumped straight out of the car.”

Maldonado’s reputation for being a rather haphazard driver will have not been aided by today’s incident, but as he said, the main point is that Gutierrez walked away unharmed for the crash.

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

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Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”