Pastor Maldonado has been in touch with Esteban Gutierrez after flipping the Sauber driver during last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, but he insists that it was a “misunderstanding” on both sides that caused the incident.
Upon exiting the pits, Maldonado appeared to misjudge where Gutierrez was on track, causing the two drivers to touch wheels. The Sauber then rolled, wrecking the rear wing and the top of the car. Thankfully, it came to rest the right way up, allowing Gutierrez to escape unharmed, albeit requiring a routine check-up at the local hospital.
Maldonado confirmed that they had been in touch, but refused to take total blame for the incident.
“Yes, we have been in touch,” Maldonado said. “I think it was a misunderstanding from both sides.
“He was out of line in the entry of the corner and I was completely committed to the corner. He said that he didn’t see me, and I didn’t expect him to turn in.”
However, the stewards lay blame entirely with Maldonado, and gave him a five place grid penalty for next weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Gutierrez will be racing with a new chassis in Shanghai because of the damage caused to his car, but given the severity of the shunt, it was remarkable that he walked away unharmed.