Most of us are impressed by rookie seasons of Perez, di Resta and Ricciardo, and I think the majority agrees that D’Ambrosio has been doing a solid job, but nothing spectacular. But when it comes to Pastor Maldonado, I think he’s incredibly hard to rate.
In 2009 GP2 season he was beaten by a rookie Nico Hulkenberg, who won the title and scored around three times as many points as him. Maldonado went on to win the title in 2010, when the best drivers from the series left. Then Hulkenberg did a good job at Williams, improving along the way, getting the awesome pole position in Interlagos and performing well at some races, notably Hungaroring, Valencia and Monza. He was dropped at the end of the season and replaced by no other than Maldonado, mostly because of the money.
Many people hated him for that, though I think it’s a bit unfair – who would have said no to such an opportunity? But, combined with other things he’s done, for me he’s easily the least likeable driver in the field. But how good is he? Hard to compare but I think he’s doing a similar job to Barrichello, who, we must not forget, was able to beat Schumacher on many an occasion and was able to finish the championship not far behind Button in 2009. Curiously, Barrichello says he’s driving better than ever, so by that logic Maldonado must be the new Schumacher :O
Anyway, I’ve wandered off a bit, but that’s my question: how good is Maldonado? A talent that might win a title some year, a solid midfield driver or not worthy of an f1 drive? I honestly can’t say.