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F1 NEWS 

Maldonado: Williams has top ten pace

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Malaysia 2011Pastor Maldonado believes that Williams has the potential to be in the top 10 on pace in Malaysia after a disappointing start to the season in Australia.

Both the Venezuelan and team-mate Rubens Barrichello failed to finish in Melbourne after suffering transmission problems, but despite neither making it into Q3 there, Maldonado believes that the Cosworth-engined FW33 has the pace to do so.

"The potential that we have is so big, but we need to put everything together," said Maldonado. "I'm very confident here.

"We had some problems with the transmission in Australia that we never had in the past, so it's too early to say our potential, but we need to put everything together and get some good results.

"But we can be in the top 10. The potential is quite high and the car feels good."

Both Williams machines showed flashes of pace in Australia, particularly during the race, and Maldonado is hopeful that a move to a different track will allow the team to up its game in qualifying.

"In the last race, we better in the race than qualifying because we developed for the race," he said. "Now everything will change.

"It's a different track, a different situation, it's hotter, humid. The track is more grippy."

The GP2 champion has no doubts that the experience he gained during his brief grand prix debut will stand him in good stead in Malaysia.

Despite the disappointment of retiring early, he is upbeat about his chances on a track that he raced on in GP2 Asia.

"It's a bad feeling, because you want to finish the race," said Maldonado. "The potential was there to be in the top 10. I didn't do so many laps, but I'm still more experience now, more calm and more ready for F1."

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