Pastor Maldonado drove the car he will start his maiden F1 race in for the first time today.
He was only able to do 29 laps in the FW33 after Rubens Barrichello’s morning stint was extended due to technical problems.
But Maldonado says the time has given him a good starting point for his first full day behind the wheel tomorrow:
The feeling was really good. I adapted myself very well to the new car. I think especially for the first laps the car was really great.
For sure we need to keep working to adapt the car more to my racing style and maybe to adapt myself to the car too. We’ll see. We didn’t run a long time so we’ll see tomorrow.
The team have a big job list for their last run with the car in Valencia. Maldonado explained the plan for tomorrow:
To learn about the car, complete all the plans with it and try many, many different things in the car just to see what we have in our hands, and develop the car and adapt it to my racing style, and adapt myself to the car and to the team.
The biggest difference between GP2 and Formula 1 is the people around you. You have many people working and doing many things in the team. That’s one of the big differences between GP2 and Formula 1, I need a little bit more time just to adapt myself and to improve.
But I think tomorrow is going to be a little bit more easy because I know the car and we’re not starting from zero.
The GP2 champion explained the key differences he’d discovered in stepping up a level to F1:
It’s a big difference, especially because of the downforce difference, and more this year because we have not got the Bridgestones.
I think I have to understand a bit more the systems of the car and even to adapt myself to use everything, to gain all I can gain during the laps.
We will do some long runs to understand the car every way. We are ready to develop in the pre-season so many different things, we start now to do that.
Maldonado added that he has a lot to learn from his highly experienced team mate:
It’s great to have Rubens as a team mate, he’s a really good guy. It especially is a pleasure to me to have him, you know, he’s the most experienced driver, for sure, that could help me a lot, especially at the beginning of the season.
His experience can make the difference, I just only need to learn and to understand the car and the team.
He played down concerns over the limited amount of testing time between now and the start of the season and stated his goals for his first season:
To learn. To be really quick. Let’s see what I can do, do my best, always, and learn race by race.
2011 F1 testing
- Young Drivers Test Day 3 in pictures
- Vergne completes third day on top in Abu Dhabi
- Young Drivers Test Day 2 in pictures
- Vergne stays quickest on second day of test
- Italian F3 pair complete Ferrari test
- Jean-Eric Vergne leads first day of young drivers test
- McLaren cover least test distance with new car
- Rosberg: Mercedes are “on the up”
- Second Barcelona test day 5 in pictures
- Hamilton: reliability and pace concerns for McLaren