Representing Venezuela “a huge responsibility” – Maldonado

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Pastor Maldonado says he feels a great responsibility in representing Venezuela in Formula One.

Maldonado became Venzuela’s first F1 driver in 27 years when he entered the sport in 2011. He brings significant backing to Williams courtesy of Venezuela’s state-owned oil and gas manufacturer PDVSA.

“It’s a huge responsibility that I have,” Maldonado told CNN. “I have a complete country pushing in my back so every day we do not do very well, I have some pressure.”

Maldonado scored his first and, so far, only win at the Spanish Grand Prix last year. He said that was a major boost for his profile back home.

“You know, F1 after my victory last year became a very popular sport,” he said. “We have two live TV channels so it’s getting bigger and bigger – which is why I have even more responsibility.”

Questions were raised over the future of Maldonado’s sponsorship arrangement following the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez earlier this year.

Maldonado said Chavez was “very close to the drivers” backed by his country, including IndyCar racer EJ Viso and GP2 racer Rodolfo Gonzalez, who has also driven for Marussia in practice sessions this year.

Maldonado has set up his own foundation to promote Venezuelan racing talent: “We want to find a new driver from the very poor slums of Venezuela and give him the opportunity to become a race driver in the future in F1,” he explained.

Formula 1: Ricciardo nurses power unit trouble to win in Monaco

Photo: Getty Images
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Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo had dominated the Monaco Grand Prix weekend heading into Sunday, topping every practice session and laying down a lap-record 1:10.810 to secure the pole.

The race itself was also going according to plan for Ricciardo, as he got the jump off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on the start to lead into Sainte Devote.

However, on Lap 28, after the leaders all made their lone pit stops of the race, Ricciardo’s day nearly came unglued when he reported a loss of power on his RB14.

With the Red Bull team monitoring the issue, Vettel was able to close back in on Ricciardo and began stalking him for the lead.

However, Ricciardo brilliantly utilized a combination of late-braking and sustained cornering speed to keep Vettel at bay and secure his first victory at the Monaco Grand Prix.

The victory, Ricciardo’s second of the 2018 Formula 1 season, serves as sweet redemption after a pit stop error cost him a possible victory in 2016, when he settled for second behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Vettel, meanwhile, saw his challenge hampered after a Lap 72 Virtual Safety Car for a crash between Sauber’s Charles Leclerc and Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley – Leclerc suffered brake failure on the run up to the Nouvelle Chicane, and collected Hartley in the process.

When the VSC ended, Vettel could not get his Pirellis back up to temperature, and Ricciardo pulled away in the final laps.

While Vettel ended up second, Hamilton rounded out the podium in third, despite struggling with a graining issue on his Pirelli ultrasofts in the second half of the race. Hamilton held off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who also fended off Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas for fourth – the trio finished up third (Hamilton), fourth (Raikkonen), and fifth (Bottas).

Esteban Ocon was sixth for Force India, with Pierre Gasly coming home a strong seventh for Toro Rosso. Nico Hulkenberg ended up eighth for Renault, while Max Verstappen came home ninth after starting last – Verstappen ran long on his first stint before switching to hypersofts on Lap 48. He ran the hypers all the way to the end to finish ninth.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was the final points finisher, coming home tenth for Renault.

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