Maldonado drops to sixth as Raikkonen avoids penalty

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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Pastor Maldonado has been docked three places on the grid for impeding Nico Hulkenberg during qualifying.

“The driver of car 18 was warned by his team not to “hold up” car 12 which was behind him, yet he clearly did impede car 12,” the stewards acknowledged.

“However as car 12 continued into Q2 a more severe penalty was not considered appropriate.”

The penalty relegates the Williams driver to sixth on the grid. Kimi Raikkonen moves up to third with Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso also gaining places.

The stewards decided against handing Raikkonen a penalty for cutting the track during the qualifying session: “Although car nine left the track at turns three and four (not only on this lap but also on another lap in Q3) a detailed examination of telemetry and sector times clearly indicate there was no advantage gained because the exit speed was shown to be slower than on other laps where the car did not leave the track.”

2012 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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73 comments on “Maldonado drops to sixth as Raikkonen avoids penalty”

  1. I’m so sorry about this guy. This probably wasn’t on purpose, as blocking tends to happen to anyone, but it’s amaizing how many times he’s been “there”, and then something happens and he’s at the back.

    He still has chances to do a great race tomorrow, but from 3rd it’s always easier.

    1. I must say that all too often these kind of penalties have ended up ruining some great qualifying efforts. And sadly far too often for impeding where it did not even matter to the impeded driver.

      1. I think in this case they gave the penalty because the team specifically told him car 12 was behind him.

        1. Alexander Jansson (@)
          1st September 2012, 21:48

          Exactly, the team ordered him not to, but still in Maldonado fashion he did what would be best for him regardless of any other diver… I think he has shown completely no respect for any driver at the moments he has been in these situations, (Eg. Hamilton was so slow he should have waited for a better position to overtake.)

          1. Maldonado needs to take a race ban soon

          2. I think you’re both being way too harsh there.

          3. Given a great car he can deliver. BTW, agree with PM. Too harsh guys. Love him or hate him. The guy is fast! :)

          4. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
            2nd September 2012, 11:29

            Yeah PM’s right no one can say things as mean as that unless it’s about bruno senna.

  2. Making it Maldonado starting between Alonso and Hamilton and right in front of Grosjean. They will be looking forward to that then.

    1. @bascb I have to admit I get quite nervous as a fan of Alonso!

    2. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      1st September 2012, 16:46

      poor poor lewis (this comment has been sent back in time from tomorrow)

      1. JimmyTheIII +1

    3. i hope Alonso could make a good start & get away from Pastor because i am 100% sure that Maldonado will destroy someone’s race tomorrow

      1. Run, Alonso, Run!!

        1. lol !!!!!

          1. We need a contest so we can guess who Maldonado will crash into and at what lap.

        2. But don’t forget to have fun!!!

      2. As eager as I am to laugh at that….

        They’ll be a Pastor fan who would be upset by that. :/

        1. Maybe Pastor can stall on the grid? Or at least have a car problem on the formation lap so he has to start in the pits…

  3. It took so long to make decision. I think this one is not sort of typical Maldonado accident but the rule is the rule. Anyway, now even Alonso and Kimi should fear his charge(I’m joking :D)

    Now it’s Kimi’s turn? We will see…

    1. Go Kimi GO….. he will charge through every1 today…

  4. Kimi is inching towards the top of the podium and it isn’t even sunday yet…

    1. Sviatoslav Andrushko (@)
      1st September 2012, 17:28

      Very good)))))))

    2. without DRS…

    3. and without activating the kers either!.

  5. OMG! A desperate Maldonado between Alonso and Ham? ….. As a McLaren fan I fear for the worse as Maldonado would make sure LH did not pass him. I bet the McLaren team will get together and tell LH not to fight him at the beginning of the race but to use DRS to pass him….

  6. I have a good feeling about this. Can’t wait for tomorrow… :)

  7. I think it is Hamilton who needs to be nervous. In order to challenge for the win he will have to pass him on the race track. It is quite possible that Alonso will only have to defend his position while Hamilton will have to pass him . And you know what has happened when these two have found each other on the racetrack! Fireworks. Anyway , Maldonado always is involved in all kind of investigations , he is the new Hamilton or at least is getting to that level.

    1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      1st September 2012, 21:26

      “Is it cos i is venezuelan?”

      1. hehe,funny.

  8. I don’t know how stewards give 3 place penalty when clearly rules state its should be 5 or 10 place penalty.

    1. to put him between Alonso and Hamilton Of course.

    2. He is a good customer so he gets nice breaks and membership card too !

        1. Hahahahahahahahahaha not just a “+” more ++++++++++

      1. yes, but the difference is that in this case the customer isn’t always right!

    3. 3 place penalties have been handed out before. Heidfeld got one in Singapore a few years ago.

    4. The rules don’t say any number of places for blocking, they can give a car any penalty they feel is justifiable..

      However, I feel that this is a bit unfair, at the time when Hulkenberg made the complaint in Q1 he was higher up than Maldonado, with a time that still got through.. Haven’t the stewards made ecisions not to penalise drivers under the same circumstances??? I just feel this isn’t giving Maldonado any chance to change considering he put in a great qualifying performance…

    5. As @keeleyobsessed writes, its not a case of him being handed any grid spots down, but his bet timed lap being taken away in most cases.

    6. @nin13

      clearly rules state its should be 5 or 10 place penalty.

      No they don’t. The only specific grid drop penalties are ten places for an engine change and five for a gearbox change. For incidents stewards can impose what they like. Three-place penalties for impeding have been used before:

      2008 Chinese Grand Prix grid
      2008 Singapore Grand Prix grid

    7. I think, they put Maldonado behind Alonso, to crash into him, and to blame Hamilton for that. Is the perfect crime!

      1. I think the right punishment would have been a warning as it didnt knock Nico out of the session although I seem to think people have had 5 place drops for less recently. My guess is they didnt give him the warning as that would have been a 10 place drop I think for 3 warnings in a season? Which would have at least looked harsh.

  9. Heeew.. I had some emotions with this guy near to Raikkonen at the start. Now they dissapered.

  10. Blocking, numerous prior penalties = 3 places
    Someone changed your gearbox, no prior penalties = 5 places

    The system needs a serious fix.

    1. @explosiveface

      The system needs a serious fix.

      No, it doesn’t. Previous penalties are only taken into consideration when it is for the same offence. Pastor Maldonado has been in and out of the stewards’ office several times this year, but he’s never been cited for blocking.

      For the stewards to hold unrelated penalties against a driver would be the same as a judge giving someone the maximum penalty for drink-driving because they have been charged with shoplifting in the past. The two offences are unrelated, so how can this be justified?

      Now, if Maldonado had been called to the stewards several times for blocking, then I could understand a harsher penalty. But he hasn’t, so it’s not justified. As the stewards said, even though Nico Hulkenberg was blocked in Q1, he made it to Q2. He did not really suffer as a result of being blocked, so a lighter penalty was called for.

  11. I really don’t like Maldonado. But I’m almost beginning to feel sorry for him now. Almost.

  12. Love this! I was a bit scared for Kobayashi and Button with Maldonado right behind, but now they have a bit of breathing space (in terms of dangerous manoeuvres), and it helps Raikkonen out too :D

  13. so now maldonado has 5 pins to aim at instead of 2….interesting.

  14. Really don’t think a penalty is warranted here if this happened in Q1.

  15. As long as Alonso can avoid trouble at the start this is only going to help his championship. I wonder if Vettel will start on the hards to attempt to gain some positions by jumping people in the pits?

    1. @vettel1 Of course, if Maldonado crashes into Alonso and takes him out then the championship may very well be blown wide open again.

      1. I don’t want it to be a massive shunt with people getting injured etc; I just want maldonado to take Alonso out of the race (after Seb has passed him, of course. Should tighten up the championship a fair bit).

    2. I agree with what you’ve said; a Crashtor special on Alonso (and a top 5 at least for Vettel) would spice up the championship a lot. He needs to outscore Alonso on average by 5 points a race!

  16. Michael Brown (@)
    1st September 2012, 19:15

    I think Maldonado has equaled Hamilton’s record of most penalties in a season

  17. Another good result ruined because of this man’s inability to respect the cars around him. Williams would be having a magnificent season if it wasn’t for this meathead.

    1. I agree 100%. The same goes for Senna whose performance is very very poor. This must be very frustrating for Sir Frank Williams.

  18. Yet another excellent qualifiying performance by Maldonado. Had it been Perez or di Resta people here would be falling over themselves in praise. Because its Maldonado hardly anyone acknowledges what a great job he’s done today. I didn’t see him impeding Rosberg but I guess the stewards have all the data to back up their decision, so I can’t really argue against it. But third on the grid on merit was a fantastic effort Maldonado and brilliant job by kobayashi too, putting the Sauber on the front row.

    1. He didn’t hold up Rosberg, he held up Hulkenberg.

    2. Michael Brown (@)
      1st September 2012, 23:21

      Agree 100%. At least he’s thrashing Senna in terms of speed.

  19. Maldonado now has a choice: either wait for Hamilton to jump him at the start or go bowling & attempt to take out the Saubers.

  20. hopefully maldanado will crash into webber, alonso and hamilton and get the guy a suitable punishement so he stops breaking the rules, plus its good for the championship :)

  21. Alexander Jansson (@)
    1st September 2012, 21:52

    In a sick and twisted world i hoped Maldonado to take him and Kobayashi out of the race to help Kimi win it all!

    1. I think kimi will in p2 by lap 2

    2. People wonder why I don’t think much of Kimi Raikkonen.

      It’s because I don’t think much of his fans, and this post demonstrates why.

      @alexanderfin: you are stating a desire to see a driver cause a multi-car accident for the sake of helping another driver win the race. It’s an attitude that I find absolutely appalling. I think it is in no way acceptable for you to want to see an accident that could cause serious injury or death to benefit Raikkonen. Are you really so callous that you would welcome this? Perhaps watching Luciano Burti’s horrifying head-on smash at Blanchimont will make you think differently. Or this video of Nigel Melker’s high-speed wipeout at the top of Eau Rouge just yesterday.

      Just imagine, if you will, if Button, Kobayashi and Maldonado came together like that. Watching one car crash was bad enough; when Luciano Burti crashed at Blanchimont in 2003, the world believed that he was as good as dead. And yet you make light of this life-threatening situation, because a win for Kimi Raikkonen is worth so much more than the lives of three drivers.

      You’re right: it’s sick and it’s twisted – but I for one hope it never happens.

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        2nd September 2012, 11:33

        Yes because all racing drivers are responsible for their fans humanity, i hate narain karthikeyan because apparently fritzle liked him…..LOL

  22. What si it with all the hate against Maldonado….? Yes, he’s young, he’s agressive, and I’ll be the first to admit h sometimes goes to far ( like the quali incident wth Hamilton last year) But there was a time we applauded agressive drivers instead of deplored them….
    Like last race, when he briefly touched Di Resta and got….a penalty offcourse!
    May I remind people of the following clip:
    Regarded virtually unanimously as the greatest racing duel ever, anyone care to count how many times their cars touch?
    So give the guy a break, jeez!

    1. @melkurion Maldonado drove into Hamilton at Spa and drove into Perez at Monaco. He’s had several other incidents where he’s lost control of his car while racing another driver and taken them out – with Hamilton in Valencia (when he was also off the track) and with Perez at Silverstone.

      Villeneuve and Arnoux banged wheels a few times. They did not take each other out either through incompetence or malice – unlike Maldonado. The comparison simply doesn’t hold.

      1. Actually Kieth it does, because I was referring to the incident with Di Resta. They touched, Maldonado passed, both raced on, he was still given a penalty.

        Those other incident highlight the guy is faaaar from perfect, but I acually like it that he’s an agressive driver. And how many times did Massa and Hamilton take eachother out last year again, did they get penalties for all those incidents?

        Malsonado sure has earned a few, but not all he has been given, not by a longshot

        1. @melkurion

          I was referring to the incident with Di Resta.

          Your comment began by asking why some people don’t like Maldonado and I answered.

          You’re missing the point about contact between drivers. It isn’t simply that Maldonado occasionally makes contact with his rivals, it’s that he takes them out or pushes them off the track.

          For example, look at his penalty for contact with Di Resta. He was trying to overtake another car, lost control, hit his rival and pushed him off the track. Again. I wasn’t in the least bit surprised he got a penalty.

          Nor can I agree with you that he has received too many or excessively harsh penalties. I thought the stewards were far too soft on him for the incidents at Monaco this year (with Perez) and Spa last year (with Hamilton), which to my mind were examples of him using his car as a weapon and should have been dealt with much more harshly.

          Indeed, had they given him a more severe penalty at Spa last year he might have thought twice about doing the same thing at Monaco this year.

          And I think it’s in those two incidents you’ll find an answer to your original question about why some people dislike Maldonado so much. It’s not just that he hits other cars when he’s lost control of his – it’s that he has driven into other cars when fully in control of his.

          1. I thought the stewards were far too soft on him for the incidents at Monaco this year (with Perez) and Spa last year (with Hamilton), which to my mind were examples of him using his car as a weapon and should have been dealt with much more harshly.

            I’m still yet to see any conclusive proof that Maldonado hit Perez deliberately. His car position at the time was strange, but there was absolutely no reason to hit Perez.

            If we look back to Spa last year, I believe that Maldonado felt Hamilton had cost him a decent lap time. Whether or not Hamilton did it is beside the point; Maldonado’s belief that he did is what is important here. I’m guessing he told the stewards as much, and that the stewards agreed with it given that they gave Hamilton a reprimand for his role in the incident (which makes no sense otherwise).

            With that in mind, I think Maldonado’s aggression and his willingness to attack drivers on the circuit only happens when he feels like they have wronged him. To his mind, Hamilton pushed him off the dry line coming out of the Bus Stop, cost him a better lap time (and a potentially better grid position), and so Maldonado lashed out. If that is the case, it was clearly a knee-jerk reaction since Maldonado attacked Hamilton in the space of about two hundred metres.

            This is where we come back to the incident in Monaco with Perez: it makes no sense for Maldonado to have attacked Perez deliberately, because Perez did nothing to set him off. He didn’t block Maldonado, he didn’t cost Maldonado a grid position; he didn’t do anything. If Maldonado only uses his car as a weapon when he thinks another driver has wronged him – as I believe is the case – then he had no reason to attack Perez.

      2. @keithcollantine

        The comparison simply doesn’t hold.

        Perhaps, but look at last year. Whatever was going on in Hamilton’s personal life, it was interfering with his racing. Just look at his collision with Kobayashi at Spa and the way he accused Kobayashi of being in the wrong without looking at the replay – and when he did, he sheepishly had to admit that he was at fault for the accident. And yet, Hamilton never took anywhere near as much criticism as Maldonado has. Just look at this post, taken from the first page of this thread:

        Maldonado needs to take a race ban soon

        @f1andy83 suggests that Maldonado needs to be banned from racing. For blocking. And what’s more, the stewards acknowledge that there was no real harm done because Hulkenberg advanced to Q2. How is that at all deserving of a race ban?

        Maybe Maldonado deserves some of the criticisms he takes – but when people are suggesting such extreme punishments for such minor infractions, I have to question whether he deserves all of it.

        Personally, I think Maldonado’s problem is that he’s too eager, and as a result, he over-drives the car. I don’t think he’s incompetent and I don’t think he’s malicious, and when you ignore the cringe-inducing moments, he’s actually achieved quite a bit this year – he was sixth in Australia before crashing out (which at the time was hailed as a fantastic moment), qualified second (which became first) and went on to win in Spain, qualified third in Valencia and was on-track for a podium before he hit Hamilton, has qualified third for Spa before his penalty and he has out-qualified his team-mate nine times this year. There’s definately speed there, and there is defiantely talent, but he just needs to straighten himself out. Pastor Maldonado needs to do what Vitaly Petrov did between 2010 and 2011 – in 2010, Petrov earned a reputation as a bit of a crasher and wrecked the car once every three races or so; in 2011, Petrov knuckled down and refined himself considerably. If Pastor Maldonado can do that, then I think he’ll be fine. He just needs to put a little more thought into what he does before he actually does it.

    2. Michael Brown (@)
      2nd September 2012, 19:09

      I think Maldonado has talent. He’s a lot faster than most of the “play-it-safe” midfield drivers.

  23. Kimi’s decision sounds fair enough. Shame that Codemasters can’t implement that in their games! I don’t know how many times I’ve been DQ’d for cutting the first chicane at Monza, despite showing willing to slow down.

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