Does Pastor Maldonado deserve his bad boy reputation?
Amongst the current field of Grand Prix drivers there are none who receive more frequent criticism than Pastor Maldonado. Over the last four years Maldonado has been involved in a string of incidents, and has received more penalties than any other driver, giving him a reputation as an accident waiting to happen. His misadventures have triggered countless parodies, memes, and even a website called hasmaldonadocrashedtoday.com
However, is this reputation justified, or is Maldonado unfairly singled out? What do you think?
The case for Maldonado
Maldonado is a GP2 champion and a Grand Prix winner who can deliver strong results in decent machinery. All drivers make mistakes, but Maldonado is put under far more scrutiny than others because of an unfair perception that has built up over time. He gets blamed for accidents that aren’t his fault, simply because it’s easy to do so, and the effect of that snowballs. When he ran wide during practice at the recent Australian Grand Prix, Mark Webber jumped on the opportunity to criticise Maldonado from the commentary box, but when other drivers ran wide there were no such comments. It’s also worth noting that you’re always going to be involved in more accidents if you have nothing to lose in a rubbish car buried deep in the pack. He is a genuine talent who needs time to grow into a front-runner and his current reputation is undeserved.
The case against Maldonado
All young drivers make mistakes but blatantly and repeatedly ignoring flags is a deliberate offence that is far worse than any simple error. That reckless attitude continued in Formula One as Maldonado seemingly rammed Lewis Hamilton (Qualifying, Belgium 2011) and Sergio Perez (Practice, Monaco 2012) when he grew frustrated with them. It’s one thing to collide accidentally with a rival, but it’s another to intentionally crash into them after the heat of the moment has passed. He is the sort of driver who keeps the throttle open when an accident starts so that it can only finish in the barriers. He is the sort of driver who crashes during a showcar demonstration, or veers off the road because he is looking down at his steering wheel. He is the sort of driver who ignores blue flags, gets a penalty, and then continues to ignore blue flags. He is a reckless driver with a dangerous unsporting attitude and his bad reputation is entirely deserved.
What do you think?
Does Maldonado deserve his reputation, or is it simply too easy to single him out? Review his driving record below and make your own decision.
2011 Malaysian Grand Prix
Spins in the pitlane and damages the car in Practice 2.
2011 Chinese Grand Prix
Spins at Turn 6 and beaches the car in Practice 1.
2011 Turkish Grand Prix
Damages the car after his second spin in Practice 1.
2011 Monaco Grand Prix
Collides with Lewis Hamilton whilst being overtaken on Lap 73. Retires from the race.
2011 Hungarian Grand Prix
Speeds in the pitlane and serves a drive through penalty.
2011 Belgian Grand Prix
Crashes into Lewis Hamilton whilst heading to the pits during qualifying. Receives a grid penalty for doing so.
2011 Italian Grand Prix
Spins into the wall coming out of parabolica during qualifying.
2011 Japanese Grand Prix
Runs off at high speed over the grass in Practice 1 and stops the car on track shortly afterwards.
2011 Korean Grand Prix
Hits a bollard entering the pitlane and receives a drive through penalty.
2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Receives a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags.
Receives a 30 second penalty for continuing to ignore blue flags.
2011 Brazilian Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall by himself at Turn 3 on lap 28.
2012 Australian Grand Prix
Collides with Romain Grosjean on lap two. Grosjean is pushed off the track and retires with damage.
Crashes into the wall by himself on the final lap.
2012 Malaysian Grand Prix
Runs off the track during qualifying and damages the car.
2012 Monaco Grand Prix
Crashes into Sergio Perez in Practice 3. Receives a ten place grid penalty for doing so.
Crashes hard into the wall at Casino Square by himself in Practice 3.
Crashes into the back of Pedro De La Rosa on lap 1 with enough force to retire them both.
2012 Canadian Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall by himself during qualifying.
2012 European Grand Prix
Crashes into Lewis Hamilton when rejoining the circuit and receives a penalty for doing so. Hamilton retires.
2012 British Grand Prix
Crashes into Sergio Perez on lap 12. Receives a reprimand and a fine for doing so. Perez retires.
2012 Hungarian Grand Prix
Crashes into Paul di Resta on lap 48. Receives a drive through penalty for doing so.
2012 Belgian Grand Prix
Blocks Nico Hulkenberg during qualifying and receives a grid penalty for doing so.
Jumps the start and receives a penalty for doing so.
Crashes into the back of Timo Glock on Lap 5 and receives a penalty for doing so.
2012 Indian Grand Prix
Collides with Kamui Kobayashi on lap 32, runs off track and picks up a puncture.
2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Collides with Mark Webber on lap 23.
2012 Brazilian Grand Prix
Misses the weight check during qualifying and receives a reprimand for doing so.
2013 Australian Grand Prix
Spins out of the race by himself at Turn 1 on lap 25.
2013 Malaysian Grand Prix
Runs off the road by himself and damages the car on lap 14.
2013 Spanish Grand Prix
Speeds in the pitlane and receives a penalty for doing so.
2013 Monaco Grand Prix
Collides with Giedo van der Garde and damages both cars on lap 1.
Collides with Max Chilton and hits the barriers on lap 44. Chilton is penalised.
2013 Canadian Grand Prix
Spins into the wall and damages the car at Turn 3 in Practice 1.
Crashes into the back of Adrian Sutil and damages the car on lap 7. Receives a penalty for doing so.
2013 Belgian Grand Prix
Collides with Adrian Sutil and damages the car on lap 28.
Crashes into Paul di Resta on his way into pitlane and receives a penalty for doing so. Di Resta retires.
2013 Singapore Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall at Turn 13 by himself in Practice 2.
2013 Japanese Grand Prix
Crashes into the barrier at Turn 9 by himself in Practice 2.
Collides with Valtteri Bottas on the last corner of the last lap. Bottas runs off the track.
2013 United States Grand Prix
Collides with Adrian Sutil and damages the car on lap 1.
2013 Brazilian Grand Prix
Collides with Jean Eric Vergne and spins on lap 65.
2014 Australian Grand Prix
Spins and beaches the car by himself in qualifying.
2014 Bahrain Grand Prix
Runs off the road and damages the car in Practice 2.
Crashes into the back of Esteban Gutierrez after the apex of Turn 1 on lap 48. Receives a penalty for doing so. Gutierrez flips over and retires.
2014 Chinese Grand Prix
Veers off the road whilst looking at his steering wheel in Practice 1.
Crashes in the pitlane entry in Practice 2.
2014 Spanish Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall by himself at Turn 3 in qualifying.
Crashes into Marcus Ericsson on lap 1 and receives a penalty for doing so.
2014 British Grand Prix
Collides with Esteban Gutierrez on lap 47. Gutierrez runs off the road with damage.
2014 Hungarian Grand Prix
Collides with Jules Bianchi and spins on lap 15.
2014 Belgian Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall by himself in Practice 2.
2014 Singapore Grand Prix
Crashes into the wall by himself in Practice 2.
2014 United States Grand Prix
Speeds behind the Safety Car and receives a penalty for doing so.
2015 Australian Grand Prix
Gets hit by Felipe Nasr, keeps the throttle open, and spins into the wall on lap 1.
This article was researched and written by Martin Porter. Check out his facebook page Motorsport Snippets.