Maldonado lives up to his reputation and crashes in front of home crowd in Caracas
By Berthold Bouman
Unfortunately for Williams and Pastor Maldonado, the Venezuelan driver lived up to his reputation last weekend and managed to crash during a demonstration run at Caracas, Venezuela. After just one lap in front of 20,000 spectators, he crashed his Williams FW33 on a roadside curb and had to abandon his car, and the demo altogether, as there was too much damage to the rear suspension of his car.
This time at least, he could not blame Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean, Pedro de la Rosa or Sergio Perez, but the winner of this year’s Spanish Grand Prix at least showed he is a consistent driver, even when it comes to crashing.
Very embarrassing for the Williams team as they had travelled to Venezuela for a six-day visit to do some networking together with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who is a huge fan of Maldonado, but more importantly, also happens to be one of the biggest Williams sponsors.
What should have been a hero’s welcome became a disappointment, ahead of the trip Maldonado said, “I’m a proud Venezuelan and I can’t wait to return home on the back of my win earlier this season at the Spanish Grand Prix. I’ve always received lots of support from my fellow countrymen and this trip is an opportunity to give something back to those in Venezuela who have helped me get to where I am today.”
Just before he left for Caracas, Maldonado had said in an interview that ‘crashing was normal’ and he was still learning to improve his performance. “This is racing, you know. I made a couple of mistakes, that’s it. I will try to do my best as always,” he said.
Also present at the demonstration were Sir Frank Williams himself and Toto Wolff, and dozens of VIP’s including President Chavez, who saw the 12-lap demonstration run on the Fuerte Tiunas military parade arena cut short by another silly error of the Venezuelan driver, who simply braked too late, spun, and slid backwards onto the curb.
His compatriot GP2 driver Rodolfo Gonzalez however, saved the day and performed a flawless eight-lap demonstration in his Caterham GP2 car.