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.

MRTI: Keith Donegan earns Mazda Shootout Scholarship

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”

The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.

Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.

“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”

Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.

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