How good is Maldonado?

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    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.


    Bradley Downton

    In my complete honest opinion, i don’t think Maldonado is worth a drive, even with HRT.. Im sorry but along with Karthikeyan, i’d line Maldonado up as the worst driver on the grid. Granted at times he’s been unlucky but you cant just be good on some circuits..



    I’ve seen others rate him as the worst driver on the grid, but I think that is unfair. He has matched up against Barrichello fairly well. Maldonado would have more points if he finished in Monaco, also Barrichello scored his points in races of high attrition. The Williams is absolutely terrible which makes rating him quite difficult, but for now I would say he deserves a place in Formula One. However I haven’t yet seen anything to suggest he could have a highly successful career yet.



    Future WDC.



    The qualifying battle is 9-7 in favour of Barrichello, whioch doesn’t reflect too badly on Maldonado. He was indeed unlucky to be rammed out of a great chunk of points at Monaco, but didn’t paint himself in a good light with his shocking antics in Spa qualifying. I’d say he could do with a second season in the Williams to see if he can really cut it.


    Prisoner Monkeys

    But when it comes to Pastor Maldonado, I think he’s incredibly hard to rate.

    Me, too. He had a rough start to the season, but he’s started to recover.

    Many people hated him for that, though I think it’s a bit unfair – who would have said no to such an opportunity?

    As I’ve said on many occasions, Nico Hulkenberg only has himself to blame for losing his Williams seat. Williams gave him every opportunity to stay, but he refused to find sponsors (when most drivers do it). I don’t think the team even started takling to Maldonado until Hulkenberg had left.

    People also hold the episode with Hamilton in Spa against him. And, while he has to be faulted for it, the dislike for him is intensified because people don’t think he should be in Formula 1.

    Take Vitaly Petrov as an example – a lot of people thought he was out of his depth in 2010, but he’s really come back in 2011 to the point where he’s almost a compeltely different drivers. I see no reason why Maldonado cannot experience a resurgance of his own.



    I will be honest and say that I dont think he deserves a race seat. He has had a lot of collisions and his consistency is disappointing. I wasnt a fan of Hulkenburg but I must admit that I wish he had stayed.



    My feeling is he’s pretty uninspiring. I can’t even bring myself to say he’s solid because of his inconsistency in performance. But as has been said, Petrov was similarly hard to judge in 2010. Though he’s no Schumacher yet, a year’s experience under his belt has definitely strengthened him. I say we withhold too much judgement until next year (if he’s around next year).



    Did Hulkenberg not absolutely demolish him in their time as teammates? Both were at ART GP2 in 2009 season.

    Hulk won the championship with 100 points and Pastor had 36 points


    Prisoner Monkeys

    What does that prove, @raymondu999? We saw Romain Grosjean, then a GP2 title contender, struggle when he got to Formula 1. And at the same time, Kamui Kobayashi, who wasn’t exactly super-competitive in GP2, has enjoyed quite a bit of success in Formula 1.

    And while Hulkenberg had better results in GP2 than Maldonado, results are not the only thing that counts in Formula 1. Money helps, but so too does attitude. Williams was running out of money at the end of 2010, and so asked Hulkenberg to find some sponsors. Hulkenberg refused, insisting that he should be signed on talent alone at a time when he would have had the easiest time of finding sponsors. Who on earth would want to employ a driver with such a poor attitude?



    @prisoner-monkeys Where did you hear that about Hulkenberg refusing to find sponsorships? I haven’t heard about it before :O

    And, while you make a good point about GP2 form not being representative of someone’s talent and ability to perform in F1, I disagree about Grosjean struggling. He came into F1 with no testing, in the middle of a season, in a poor car against Fernando Alonso. He did just fine in comparison, especially given that we all know how much Alonso can get from a struggling car.



    I hear what you’re saying PM, but we heavens really seen how Grosjean and Kobayashi would perform relative to each other in F1. I’m not saying Kobayashi is bad in F1; but Grosjean had Alonso to fight things out with, and an uncompetitive Renault which didn’t handle well. The 2009 Toyota was a solid car, and balanced. He’s done good in Sauber now, but we haven’t seen Grosjean perform in F1 with full testing experience from preseason, etc


    Prisoner Monkeys

    Where did you hear that about Hulkenberg refusing to find sponsorships?

    I’m pretty sure it was all over Autosport or a similar publication, @enigma. And there was a bit of deductive reasonsing involved. One of the conditions of Hulkenberg re-signing was Williams was that he found sponsors, because the team knew they were losing some big ones; RBS and Philips had not renewed their contracts, AirAsia was going to Tony Fernandes, and there was a fourth one (I can’t remember which) that was leaving. When it was annouced that Hulkenberg was leaving the team, sponsorship was cited as one of the issues. Given that the team didn’t approach anyone else until Hulkenberg’s future was settled, and Hulkenberg’s rejection of contracts with Virgin (he didn’t want to race against Glock because losing to another German would harm his career) and Hispania (they were too slow for him), and certain comments that he made, it’s apparent that Hulkenberg seemed to think he should get a drive on the basis of his talent – when only a handful of drivers have no personal sponsors, and his performances in 2010 were not good enough to put him in that category of driver.



    I actually like Maldonado pretty much and I don’t think he’s been performing worse than Hulkenberg. Williams car has been quite miserable this year so Pastor hasn’t had a lot of chances to shine but the 2011 form guide shows he’s on a par with his much more experienced team mate Barrichello so I think Maldonado deserves at least one more season in F1 and I hope to see him in a more competitive Williams next year.



    Not very.

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