Q & A with Pastor Maldonado

AUTOSPORT catches up with Pastor Maldonado following the Venezuelan's first point in Formula 1 at the Belgian Grand Prix

Q & A with Pastor Maldonado

Q. Pleased about getting your first points on the board last time out?

Pastor Maldonado: I am pleased especially for the team. For the country, for me. It's important but it's not everything. We need more, we need to keep pushing. The season is not over and we need to keep pushing. I think the team is doing good and they are still pushing on some new things. The car is improving race after race. I'm more experienced as well you know, so I am more confident with the team and the car.

Q. How much better is it knowing that your place is secure for next year and you are able to concentrate on developing as an F1 driver?

PM: For sure I feel more confident in the team, with the car, with everything. As a rookie you know you need a bit of time to adapt yourself to the different level in Formula 1, coming from GP2. But at the moment I feel at home, the team is great, especially because of the spirit. They are always pushing so hard and they always want more. In the factory, here in the track also. I spend a lot of time in the factory and in the simulator. So I think apart from the results were are doing well and I hope to improve myself race after race and even the car.

Q. How much closer to your potential do you think you are from the beginning of the year?

PM: I'm improving. My only mission here is to improve race after race you know. I think that drivers never stop [learning]. You can continually improve and I have done that so far this year. Every race I have been learning more from Rubens [Barrichello] and learning more from the team. Also about the tracks and the different things that I have experienced in the past.

Q. Did you drive in the aero test at Silverstone last week, and how did it feel in low downforce?

PM: To be honest it felt comfortable. Different condition for sure here with the high kerbs and it we feel different from the tests. But I hope to improve and feel confident.

I think here is the kind of track that the driver must be very confident with the car because of the low downforce. On braking especially because of the really high speed to very low speed, especially the first and second chicanes - you must feel completely at one with the car, the team and the engine, to translate what the car is doing and how the track is improving lap after lap.

Q. How does the Cosworth engine stack up against the likes of the Mercedes? Do you feel you are lacking in power?

PM: No not at the moment. I think there is some difference, but it is not very big. We need to see in Monza, where the engines will be working hard, but I hope to be competitive.

Q. Have you spoken to Lewis and cleared the air since Spa?

PM: Yeah. It's all solved between us. We are very good friends from many years ago. That's it. We made a mistake and now we look forward.

Q. Did you meet or text, or was it a phone call?

PM: We had some contact at Spa here in the motorhome.

Q. This is one of the last circuits you knew from GP2 on the calendar this year.

PM: I know Abu Dhabi as well but for sure it is going to be an important part of the season for me, because I need to adapt myself to the new circuits - especially Singapore which is quite complicated. But I love it, I love to work and to have something new to discover. I'm confident and I feel ready to go there and to do my best.

Q. Do you think it will make a difference in terms of performance or do you think after first or second practice it's all the same?

PM: After Friday I will be on the pace.

Q. Would you like to see Rubens as your team-mate next year?

PM: For sure Rubens and me we are working so hard and I feel very good with him in the team. I think him as well. We do have one of the most, in my opinion, strongest driver line-ups in Formula 1 and for sure I would like to have him in the team next year. But for both of us there is nothing at the moment.

Q. How was your first world championship point received in Venezuela?

PM: Very good. It was completely big news. I think that the country, and even myself, is expecting more than one point. I am working so hard, but the people in Venezuela are so happy for that. We are a very young country and for sure it is big news.

Q. Have you had to do a lot more national media since Spa?

PM: Since I was in World Series I have had to work with many media because I was one of the drivers with the possibility to come to Formula 1. In Venezuela we have two TV channels that share the F1 coverage so it is really important for us because it is getting more popular race-by-race and even with no drivers in the past F1 was one of the most important sports in Venezuela. Now with this it seems crazy you know.

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Maldonado more confident after first Formula 1 point

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