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Michael 'impressed' by Maldonado

Pastor MaldonadoWilliams technical director Sam Michael says he has been impressed with the performance of Pastor Maldonado so far.

"The job that he's done in the short testing that we've had so far has been very good," said Michael during the unveiling of Williams's final colour scheme.

"One of the things I liked, and I called Frank [Williams] and Patrick [Head] straight away after the first test to say, is that he is definitely naturally talented.

"On his first couple of days in Valencia we looked at all of his data compared to Rubens and you could see that he has a natural talent."

The GP2 champion has joined the team for this season and will make his grand prix debut in Australia next month.

Michael made it clear, however, that errors are to be expected from the Venezuelan.

"Pastor is a rookie. He will make a few mistakes and will have a few crashes like every rookie does, but the one thing I'm quite impressed by already is, probably because he's 25 years old, and he's five years older than what a normal rookie is when they come into the sport, he's got a level of maturity that's higher. That's quite encouraging.

Michael insisted this will be a learning season for Maldonado, and made it clear Rubens Barrichello will be the main force behind the development route for the car.

"Another thing is that his set-up direction is very similar to Rubens very quickly," he said. "I think that also comes with maturity and experience in the lower categories he's been racing in. He's had very good training. Let's be clear. Rubens is the key driver for the direction of the car because of his experience, which Pastor will never match.

"His main thing is to try to learn from him as much as he can. Rubens contributes most to where the car is going, the platform and the set-up. But it's very encouraging for me to see Pastor reflecting Rubens' comments about what the car is doing very quickly."

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