We all like to think that driving a racing car flat-out would be easy, but it isn’t, even if you have a natural born talent. You are probably wondering, “Than how are the pros that good?” Even the best-of-the-best Formula 1™ drivers have to work extremely hard day-in and day-out if he wants to win Grand’s Prix, and it doesn’t happen over night.
Pastor Maldonado has been working THAT hard, day-in and day-out, however, his performance has not yielded any reward since 2011 when he started racing F1 cars with team Williams.
Date of Birth: Sept. 3, 1985
Place of Birth: Maracay
Grand’s Prix Entered: 64
TRIVIA: He marks only the fourth driver in Formula 1 history who is from Venezuela.
Taking a pretty standard journey into F1 racing, Maldonado by the age of seven, was already racing karts competitively in Venezuela’s junior championships. Maldonado became interested in racing thanks to his father and uncles, who were extremely passionate about motorsports. Not to mention, located just five minutes from his childhood home in Maracay there was a kart track.
Before he turned 14, he was already a shinning star, claiming four regional and three national championships –the youngster was officially in love!
According to Formula1.com, “In 1998, he raced in Europe for the first time, competing in international kart races, but in 2000 he journeyed across the Atlantic again to compete in the Renault Winter series, eventually taking the title.” Maldonado enjoyed the atmosphere so much he made a permanent move to Europe in 2003, competing in the Italian Formula Renault Series. Three podiums and a pole position saw him finish the year in seventh.
His second season in the same series, he achieved eight wins and the championship. He also competed in the more competitive European Formula Renault V.6 Series and finished the year eighth with two wins. With his confidence high, he embarked down a new road for his 2005 season, but the results left him feeling slightly defeated.
However, Maldonado bounced back and his second season proved much more rewarding, with third overall in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series after three wins and six podiums. His performance was enough to secure him a spot in GP2 for 2007 with trident! Maldonado was the talk of the town after his impressive win in Monaco and it was looking like he was in route to be the king of GP2 until he fractured his collarbone, seeing him sit out four Grand’s Prix.
Between 2007-2009, Maldonado remained in the GP2 class, not because he wasn’t winning, but because a Formula 1 seat remained elusive, so he decided to stick with GP2 for a fourth season in 2010 where he had the year of his life.
Racing for Rappax, he clinched the title with six wins two further podiums and a lead of 16 points in the standings. He also broke a record, becoming the only driver to have won six successive feature races in a single season.
Finally! In 2011, Maldonado was in high demand, especially coming off post-season winter tests in Abu Dhabi, making appearances for both HRT and Williams. Remaining in GP2 gave him more experience and finally paid off when team Williams offered him their second race seat!
Not only was it special for Maldonado making it into the Formula 1 class, but it was also special for the country of Venezuela, considering he became the first Venezuelan in almost 30 years to make it to the Formula 1 grid.
Unfortunately, during his rookie year, Williams was having the worst season in their history. The car was not competitive which led them to have the worst results ever recorded. Maldonado came away with a single point for tenth place in Belgium. Lucky for him, he retained his seat for 2012.
The 2012 season brought new engines and a new technical team! The highlight of the year was his near perfect drive to victory from pole position in Spain, where he held off Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. Maldonado has yet to see such a highlight again... sitting in last place for the 2014 season with one point. Will he turn his game around? Be there next to find out!
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