[NOTE: This article may contain offensive language, apologies if any inconvenience is caused.]
As you may have noticed, yesterday, Pastor Maldonado confirmed that he would leave Renault and F1 with immediate effect. It is expected that on the day of Renault’s F1 launch (Wednesday 3rd February) that Kevin Magnussen will be revealed alongside 2014 GP2 Champion, Jolyon Palmer.
Now before the majority of Formula 1 fans get drunk in celebration of ‘Crashtor’ departing, I will attempt to show the delusional haters the light, and that he wasn’t that bad after all.
My first point is one that should seem rather obvious. You do not win a Grand Prix by mistake. For those who decided to blank it out in their minds, Pastor drove an amazing race almost 4 years ago in Spain, holding off arguably two of the best drivers at that moment in time to win the Spanish Grand Prix. He drove brilliantly in that mediocre car and that win was fully deserved. It was a shame that Williams couldn’t celebrate because if a fire caused by teammate Bruno Senna’s car.
Apart from that, his season was mediocre and he threw away a lot of points as well. Most notably he missed out in Australia from a certain 6th place finish on the final lap, and lost an effective 3rd place when colliding with Lewis Hamilton three laps from the end of the European Grand Prix (However, Schumi inherited that podium and Ben Edwards made a funny noise so I’m not overly annoyed). However, if you look at his qualifying record in 2012, it was phenomenal, many second at third places on the grid, including an inherited pole after Hamilton was disqualified from qualifying in Barcelona. As my good friend Ross Curtis pointed out, Pastor could scored up to 110 points in 2012 without some mistakes.
And now here will come the ‘what about the other years’ question. Well, in 2011, he was a rookie and Williams had produced a dog of a car, proved by experienced teammate Barrichello getting only 4 points. However Pastor could’ve got 8 more had he not been crashed out of the Monaco Grand Prix by Lewis Hamilton. It was same with 2013, however this time it was Bottas who got the 4 points. Then the switch to Lotus came and it was another poor season, Maldonado only getting 2 points, however this is the same ratio as Maldonado vs Barrichelo/Bottas as Grosjean scored 8 points that year.
However, 2015 was a decent year for the Enstone squad, yet Pastor was still blown away by Grosjean. But surely this isn’t a surprise since Pastor was never the best, just mediocre. But 2015 showed Pastor was improving once again, he got over half the amount his teammate scored, which even shows an improvement of more than ‘twice’.
And another bit that it’d like to draw your attention do, is that you cant find your way into F1 without some skill, when he joined, he was the the reigning GP2 champion, who had just fought off the likes of Jules Bianchi, Sergio Perez and Sam Bird. You cant have no talent if you win a championship, with no talent, and also by not scoring in the last 5 races. Yes Pastor was inconsistent, but he was very quick on his day.
Now we’ve discussed performance, we can now discuss your favourite part, the ‘Crashtor’ part. I don’t think anyone will deny, he is a bit of a ‘crasher’, however, when he does crash it is severely overrated. And the boring as hell Maldonado memes that were fun to start off with, but by the end of 2013, were more boring that the 2015 Australian, Japanese and Chinese Grand Prixs, and they were used even when it wasn’t his fault, which made it worse. It was pathetic. He has crashed many times, and I’m sure that some sad bastard will tell me the exact number (and know the state of the person who will, probably the ones that weren’t caused by him and ones that were outside of F1). But even in crashes he improved! In his final year of F1, excluding Hungary (because of the events that happened in the week leading up to the race), I saw 1 major crash (Belgium FP1) and 2 minor crashes (Singapore and Brazilian races with Button and Ericsson). All other incidents in 2015 were not his fault from my point of view, and the last time before that that he crashed was 2014 Singapore FP2.
One of his biggest crashes in 2014 has to be Bahrain, and that was Pastors fault, for sure, however i do think Gutierrez and Sauber were party to blame. Gutierrez could’ve used his mirrors and Sauber could’ve told him whether anyone was coming out of the pits.
From what is shown on here, Pastor Maldonado has crashed on 26 out of his 96 races. So thats effectively 1 in every 4 races Maldonado has crashed. That obviously isn’t a great stat. And I don’t think he was an amazing driver. But i think he was improving, and it is a shame that we won’t see him in 2016. Not even with Manor (which I think would cost a lot less than the Williams or Lotus seats). Its like how James Hunt was described in the 2013 film Rush, “Yeah, yeah, he can be a loose cannon. And, yeah, he will drive you all mad. Nine days out of ten you’ll be pulling your hair out, but on that tenth day James will be invincible and that is the day you will wish you had him in your car.”
So that was Pastor Maldonado’s f1 career, reckless at times, but some were great to watch. I watched Spain 2012 again last night just to remind me how brilliant Pastor was that day. So, thank you for the last 5 years Pastor, and best of luck in your future.