Pastor Maldonado has been in touch with Esteban Gutierrez after flipping the Sauber driver during last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, but he insists that it was a “misunderstanding” on both sides that caused the incident.
Upon exiting the pits, Maldonado appeared to misjudge where Gutierrez was on track, causing the two drivers to touch wheels. The Sauber then rolled, wrecking the rear wing and the top of the car. Thankfully, it came to rest the right way up, allowing Gutierrez to escape unharmed, albeit requiring a routine check-up at the local hospital.
Maldonado confirmed that they had been in touch, but refused to take total blame for the incident.
“Yes, we have been in touch,” Maldonado said. “I think it was a misunderstanding from both sides.
“He was out of line in the entry of the corner and I was completely committed to the corner. He said that he didn’t see me, and I didn’t expect him to turn in.”
However, the stewards lay blame entirely with Maldonado, and gave him a five place grid penalty for next weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Gutierrez will be racing with a new chassis in Shanghai because of the damage caused to his car, but given the severity of the shunt, it was remarkable that he walked away unharmed.
British youngster Dan Ticktum took a dramatic victory in the 64th Macau Grand Prix on Sunday after the leading two cars crashed out at the final corner on the last lap of the race.
In an incident-packed race that saw front-row starters Joel Eriksson and Callum Ilott clash early on amid a litany of Full Course Yellows, Brazilian racer Sergio Sette Camara was able to move into the lead ahead of Ferdinand Habsburg and Maximilian Günther.
Günther’s pace dropped off in the closing stages as he struggled to keep his tires alive, causing a train of cars to form up behind him including McLaren youngster Lando Norris and the Red Bull-backed Ticktum.
Ticktum pulled off a brilliant double-pass on Norris and Günther around the outside of Lisboa to move up to third, with Sette Camara and Habsburg dueling for position right the way to the finish.
Habsburg attempted a brave pass around the outside of the Mandarin kink, but was forced to wait until the penultimate straight before he got a tow and was able to pass for the lead.
Drama then struck when both Habsburg and Sette Camara ran wide and crashed into the wall exiting the final fast right-hander by their own accord, paving the way for Ticktum to charge through to victory.
Norris and Ralf Aron benefited from the crashes to score second and third place respectively, while Habsburg was able to get to the checkered flag in fourth on three wheels.