Maldonado blames mistake for clash
Pastor Maldonado has insisted his collision with Sauber's Sergio Perez in Practice Three was the result of a straightforward driver error on cold tyres.
Last Updated: 26/05/12 5:09pm
Pastor Maldonado has insisted his collision with Sauber's Sergio Perez in Practice Three was not deliberate.
The Venezuelan endured a dramatic end to Saturday morning's final practice session as he first drove into Perez's left-front wheel as he tried to pass the Mexican's car going into Portier and then promptly crashed his Williams next time round at Casino Square.
However, it was the first incident that proved the most contentious and prompted accusations that the Spanish GP winner may have deliberately driven into Perez - who had slowed to allow the Williams to pass - along with a visit for Maldonado to the stewards office, who took a stern view of the incident and punished him with a ten-place grid penalty.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after later going on to set the ninth-fastest time in qualifying - which becomes a lowly 19th on the grid - Maldonado explained that he had initially lost control of his car on cold tyres coming down the hill towards the corner and contact with Perez became unavoidable.
Asked for his view on the penalty, Maldonado replied: "Difficult to say. It was a mistake from my side because I lost the car. I was trying to pass Perez quite quick, cold tyres - it was the out lap - and I lost a little bit the car.
"I was trying to recover the car and when I recovered the car I touched Perez. I was completely in the oversteer and when I recovered the car the tyres took too much of the grip and I touched Perez.
"Maybe I needed to back off a little bit, but I was trying to do my best and that's it."
His subsequent crash around the next lap prompted suggestions that his car may have been damaged in the clash with Perez, but Maldonado says this wasn't the case and he simply got the corner wrong.
"No, because the touch [with Perez] was so small. Then I was just too optimistic, just too close to the wall in turn four, in Casino, and then I was straight to the outside wall."
Although he now starts 19th on the grid on the most difficult Formula 1 circuit to overtake on, Maldonado says he plans to "attack from the beginning" in a car he feels has good potential over the race distance.
"The car looks pretty consistent. In qualy we were quite close to the pole, even in the same tenth fighting with Rosberg and the other drivers. But at the end in the last stint I got Massa [ahead of me] in my best lap and I was a bit penalised on that lap," he said.
"But anyway it was very competitive, even this morning we did a long run with heavy fuel and the car looks really, really consistent so looking forward to tomorrow. It's going to be difficult but I will do my best."
Giving his side of the story, Perez said: "We were queueing up. I wanted to do a lap, but he wanted to do a quicker one. So I went in the inside to let him by but he drove into me and basically from then I had a problem."
Neither the Mexican nor his team was able to confirm whether the incident led to the accident he suffered early in the first qualifying session, however.
Attempting a flying lap for the first time, Perez ran wide exiting the fast left-right entering the swimming pool section and clouted the barrier. His car then rolled down to La Rascasse, where its driver climbed out.
Perez therefore lines up 24th and last on the grid for Sunday's race - his first in the Principality. The 22-year-old missed the Monaco Grand Prix 12 months ago after a crash in qualifying left him hospitalised.
"It was a big shame for me because we have a very competitive car," Perez said.
He added: "I think I'm very good at this track, it's just the way it goes at this track. If you have a small problem like I had in qualifying, you go straight and the first thing you find is the wall."