Pastor Maldonado's Belgian GP retirement was self-inflicted - Lotus

Pastor Maldonado's second-lap retirement with a loss of power in the Belgian Grand Prix was "self-inflicted", according to his Lotus Formula 1 team

Pastor Maldonado's Belgian GP retirement was self-inflicted - Lotus

The Venezuelan went off track at Eau Rouge, damaging his clutch control system, and forcing him into retirement for the seventh time in 11 races this season.

The incident came after a crash that Maldonado described as "very unlucky" during Friday practice at Spa and three separate penalties that he incurred at the previous race in Hungary.

"Maldonado's retirement was self-inflicted," said Lotus trackside operations director Alan Permane.

"He had a huge off at Eau Rouge. That damaged the clutch-control system.

"The valves were damaged and that locked his clutch out. That's why he couldn't get back."

While Maldonado struggled, his team-mate Romain Grosjean excelled, qualifying fourth and recovering from starting ninth on the grid because of a gearbox penalty to score Lotus's first podium of the season.

"He was faultless," added Permane. "We had a trying year last year, but if you look back at his performances in 2013, he did this race in race out.

"The car likes being on a lower downforce level so Spa and Canada have been good, Austria was pretty good to us, too.

"He drove exceptionally well and didn't really put a foot wrong all weekend. It was a brilliant qualifying and a brilliant race."

Lotus's first podium since the 2013 United States GP comes at a time when it faces legal battles and an uncertain future and Permane is hopeful of another strong result at the next race at Monza.

"It was one of those weekends where everything came together," said Permane.

"It's a very good car, it does seem to work well in low downforce levels, which is why hopefully Monza will be kind to us.

"If we could develop it like we would develop any other car, we'd have a good chance of being higher up than we are now."

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