Pastor Maldonado had every reason to celebrate following the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday after scoring his long-awaited first points of the 2015 Formula 1 season.
Maldonado had been running inside the top ten on a number of occasions in the opening six races, only for technical problems on the car to resign him to five retirements and one 15th-place finish.
After qualifying sixth on Saturday, the Venezuelan driver pinned his hopes on a trouble-free race so that he could bid for his first points of the year.
Lotus opted to put Maldonado on an aggressive strategy, switching him from the super-soft to the soft tires on lap 17 in a bid to get him past Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg.
Although his 53-lap old tires at the end of the race caused him to fall behind Felipe Massa in the battle for sixth, Maldonado crossed the line in seventh place to pick up six points and end his pointless drought.
“Finally, here we are in the points!” Maldonado said after the race. “I think now we’ve started scoring there’s potential for this to be a great season for us as we have really good pace.
“It was a good race. We had to pit quite early to gain the place against Nico Hulkenberg which made the later part of the race quite tricky and I couldn’t defend later on as a consequence.
“I’m pleased for the team that we got both cars in the points; let’s continue like this.”
Teammate Romain Grosjean bounced back from a puncture and a time penalty to finish the race in tenth place for Lotus, marking the team’s first double points score of the season.
“It was a happy day for us,” deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi said. “Pastor scored his first points of the season after driving a strong and measured race and Romain was in the points too even if it was in a more eventful manner.
“For Pastor this should be a turning point for his season and with thank all his supporters in Venezuela and PDVSA for their faith in us. Both cars scoring points is always our target and we want more of the same for the rest of the year.”