Hamilton fumes after Maldonado clash
Lewis Hamilton was left frustrated and fuming after another run-in with Pastor Maldonado knocked him out of the points on the penultimate lap of the European Grand Prix in Valencia on Sunday.
McLaren’s 2008 world champion, who had started the day as championship leader, was fighting to hang on to third place when he and the Venezuelan Williams driver collided.
The Briton, his car pitched into the wall, hammered the steering wheel with his fists in frustration and then tossed it out of the cockpit.
The stewards later ruled that Maldonado had caused the collision for failing to rejoin the track in a safe manner, and imposed a 20 second penalty to his race time.
The ruling knocked the Venezuelan out of the points to 12th, and promoted Brazilian team mate Bruno Senna to 10th instead, but was cold comfort for Hamilton.
He had calmed down by the time he spoke to television reporters after the race, but his carefully measured words spoke more of a driver determined to keep a lid on his true emotions on a day that saw him slip to third in the championship.
“A tough day in the office for us, but that’s life, you have to deal with it,” a terse Hamilton told the BBC.
“As always I put my heart and soul into a race like that. You have ups and downs so I’m looking forward to the Silverstone Grand Prix.”
The McLaren driver has previous form with Maldonado, colliding with him at last year’s Monaco Grand Prix and ending the Williams driver’s race.
Maldonado, surprise winner at the Spanish Grand Prix last month, was forthright with his opinions at the time accusing Hamilton of not ‘driving like a champion’, and was sharp on Sunday as well.
“He tried to put me out of the track,” Maldonado said.
“And he didn’t leave any room for me to stay and to do the corner side by side. I jumped over the kerb and I couldn’t avoid the accident.
“I don’t know why he drove like that, he was struggling too much with the tyres, he was completely lost and at that moment I was making very good pace.
“He tried a very aggressive movement on me.”