Maldonado has rare shot to extend points-scoring streak in Brazil


You may wonder how it’s possible to tie the 1989 cult baseball classic “Major League” in with a modern-day Formula One driver.

However, it is possible by virtue of one smart-alecky line from Bob Uecker as announcer Harry Doyle when he wisecracks about the then-hapless Cleveland Indians: “Well, the Indians with a chance to extend their winning streak to… two!”

Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado is in that same situation heading into Brazil this weekend, with a chance to extend his points-scoring streak to… two.

Ordinarily this wouldn’t be that big a deal, except for the fact that in Maldonado’s four seasons in F1, it’s something he’s only achieved once in 74 career starts.

In 2012, Maldonado finished fifth at Abu Dhabi and followed it up with ninth in the first U.S. Grand Prix at Austin. When it came to the season finale in Brazil that year, the then-Williams driver was unable to make it three in a row.

But 2012 was a fascinating season for Maldonado because thus far, it’s been the only season of four he’s scored points in more than one race (five total Grands Prix, including his Spanish Grand Prix win). In both 2011 (10th at Spa) and 2013 (10th at Hungary), Maldonado has scored only once all year, and he’s now equaled that with a ninth at Austin this past weekend.

He has that chance to go two-in-a-row this weekend at a track that, as mentioned above, he has yet to score. He’s optimistic racing in South America, and not far from his native Venezuela, that he’ll be able to deliver once more in the Lotus E22.

“Interlagos may not have the most impressive infrastructure but it is a great, historic circuit,” he said in the team’s pre-race advance. “I really love the track, the atmosphere and the people – there will be a lot of Venezuelans there! Hopefully we can have a great race and put on a good show for the South American fans.”

With setup balance hard to achieve – Maldonado said ideally, you’d want Monza-spec for one part of the lap and Hungaroring-spec for another – he thinks a wet race would spice things up even more.

“We’ve seen some epic races in Interlagos where wet weather has been a factor, and thunderstorms are present. We all know the amount of rain which can fall in Sao Paulo and the Interlagos track even has grooves cut into it to help the water flow off the track!” he said. “It’s a challenging circuit in the dry and even more so in the wet, but there have been some amazing races over the years because of this. Whatever the weather, we’ll be pushing for the best result possible.”

And if said result is in the top-10 for the second straight race, it will be a somewhat monumental occurrence.