Engine issue costs Maldonado shot at points finish

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Pastor Maldonado was left frustrated after today’s Bahrain Grand Prix thanks to a problem with his engine that cost him a shot at a points finish.

The Lotus driver has endured a difficult start to the 2015 season, failing to finish any of the first three races despite having the pace to rank inside the top ten.

A brake issue in qualifying left Maldonado 16th on the grid, and despite receiving a time penalty for starting out of position on the grid, he was soon battling for points with Felipe Massa and Felipe Nasr.

Lotus managed to get its driver ahead of the Brazilian pair thanks to a swift second pit stop, but it proved to be the high point of his race.

When entering the pits for a third time, Maldonado suffered an engine problem that forced him to stop outside his garage whilst the team tried to cool the car down.

He eventually rejoined the race, only to finish down in 15th position ahead of the Manor drivers.

“That was a frustrating race for me,” Maldonado said. “I pushed as hard as possible at the start on the medium tires whilst everyone around me was on the grippier soft compound rubber.

“Once I moved to the soft tires I was able to set the race’s then fastest lap so things looked good with our strategy.

“Unfortunately the engine anti-kill triggered when I came in to make my final pit stop which cost me a lot of time. It’s frustrating as we should have finished strongly.

“My focus is now Barcelona where I’ve delivered very strongly in the past.”

His teammate, Romain Grosjean, fared far better in the sister Lotus car, finishing seventh for the second race in a row and picking up six points for the team.

“It had been a tough weekend until now for me, so it was really great to get another strong seventh position,” Grosjean said. “Today’s race was great, especially as there was lots of overtaking. I was really hoping to catch Daniel Ricciardo but he was too quick for us today.

“It was quite difficult to manage tires, especially with the rears so I think we did a good job to make the two-stop strategy work. We only had new medium compound tires for the race, the rest were scrubbed, so it really was a great job by the team.

“It was a good recovery from Friday and Saturday’s session and I’ll happily take seventh place as my birthday gift for myself and the team.”