Maldonado brushes off criticism for Ericsson clash

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Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado has brushed off criticism received following his clash with Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson in Brazil by saying that “rubbing’s racing”.

Maldonado and Ericsson came together during last weekend’s race at Interlagos, with the minor collision prompting Sauber to pit its driver and check for damage on his car.

The stewards handed Maldonado a five-second time penalty for the incident, but the Venezuelan driver bounced back to finish the race P10 following Felipe Massa’s exclusion.

Ericsson ailed home in 16th place, prompted Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn to tell Autosport that Maldonado was “very, very annoying”, given his reputation for on-track incidents.

Maldonado has hit back at this criticism, though, putting it down as a racing incident.

“There’s a saying that rubbing’s racing,” Maldonado said. “In Formula 1 it sometimes feels like you get penalized for every bit of contact.

“I went for a gap that was there – and we all want to see overtaking in Formula 1 – and he closed the gap whilst defending his position.

“I saw it as a racing incident, and on a corner like turn one in Brazil the driver on the outside will usually come off worse. We spoke after the race and all’s fine between us.

“I think pretty much the same would have happened if positions were reversed and he had tried the same move on me.”