Pastor Maldonado has heaped praise upon his Lotus team for returning to form in 2014 following a disastrous winter period at Enstone.
After being blighted with financial problems and issues with the E22 car, the team started the season with little hope of scoring points in the first few races. However, in Spain, Romain Grosjean qualified an excellent fifth, and brought the car home in eighth place.
Maldonado hasn’t fared as well as his teammate, scoring no points and only recording a best finish of 14th. However, he is still buoyed by the progress that Lotus has made ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
“The car has made a big step forward from where we were,” he explained. “I think it is a great boost for everyone at Enstone and of course as a driver it gives me more confidence in the car so I can aim to achieve better results.
“If you think about where we were and where we are now it is an incredible step forward – particularly when the other teams are moving forward with their development too.
“It’s a true testament to the team’s capabilities and I hope we can start to get the results on track that we so deserve.”
Maldonado’s record around Monaco is somewhat patchy. In Formula 1, he has failed to finish the race, retiring on all three occasions. He has however won there in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5.
Interestingly, Maldonado was actually banned for life from racing at Monaco after hitting a marshal during a Formula Renault 3.5 race in 2005. However, it was ultimately repealed.
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).