Maldonado: It's getting better
Spanish Grand Prix winner targets more success in Monaco
By Mike Wise. Last Updated: 21/05/12 10:57am
Pastor Maldonado sees no reason why he and Williams cannot repeat their Spanish Grand Prix victory in Monaco next weekend.
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The Venezuelan scored both his first Formula 1 win and the first for his team in eight seasons in Barcelona at the weekend after a race-long battle with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Now the sport heads to the French Riviera for its showpiece event - one in which Maldonado arguably gave the strongest performance of his rookie season last year until his race was ended by a late collision with Lewis Hamilton.
"For sure we will do our best. As you see, all the teams are so close - the Championship is so close - at the moment the gap is so close as well. But I need to say that we are getting better and better every time," Maldonado said during a phone-in press conference on Thursday.
"At the moment we don't have the quickest car on the track but we are doing our best and why not? Formula 1 is changing every time. It's going to be difficult but for sure we will try again."
Maldonado, who visited Williams' factory in Grove on Thursday, insisted that the fire which engulfed their garage after the race had not lowered spirits.
One team member remains in hospital having suffered burns in the blaze while Maldonado himself was forced to flee the scene carrying his 12-year-old cousin, who was already nursing an injured ankle.
"We'd been altogether inside of the garage at that moment. I was so scared for all of us but I think that we were so lucky because we don't have any big damage - and especially because our people were okay after that," he said.
"It was a scary moment for all of us. I saw my cousin, who was with a small injury. I take him and I bring him away from the box.
"It was a difficult moment for all the team. But for sure we're so happy even after that because of the win. After nearly eight years that Williams doesn't get to the top of the podium, it was a great moment, a great day."
Having crashed out on the final lap of the season-opener in Melbourne whilst chasing Alonso, the 27-year-old also feels he is maturing behind the wheel.
"I get more experience," he said. "I overpushed in Australia because I wanted to get that place. We were so motivated at the time because you can imagine the moment we had last year in the team.
"It was so difficult for us and then we saw (pre-season) that the car performance was quite competitive. We were attacking, we were pushing so hard...but this is racing. Some times are good, some times not."
Maldonado, who is backed by Venezuela's national oil company PDVSA, also said that he and Williams had received congratulations from the country's President Hugo Chavez.
"He had a clear message especially for the team: in the name of Venezuela, he congratulated our team, our guys, because we did pretty good. And especially because of the result of last year, he saw our improvement," he added.
"All of Venezuela takes that victory as personal."