Where Pastor Maldonado is now 10 years on from iconic Spanish Grand Prix win

It is 10 years to the day since Pastor Maldonado claimed his famous win in the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix – but where is he now? When and where did he last compete in motorsport?

Where Pierre Gasly, Sergio Perez, and Esteban Ocon walk, Pastor Maldonado ran.

Why do millions of people tune into Formula 1 grands prix? Habit? Maybe. To be entertained? Possibly. To be shocked and thrilled? Most certainly.

The negligible chance of someone so unexpected claiming a grand prix win is like bees to nectar.

A faint whiff of the possibility is enough to lure you in, in the hope that maybe, just maybe, something out of the ordinary will happen.

Gasly, Perez and Ocon all took their maiden win in 2020/21, with Gasly’s the first win for a genuine midfield team since the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix.

It’s been 10 years to the day since that famous race in Barcelona, but where is Pastor Maldonado now? What has be been doing since he left F1 in 2015?

2012 Spanish Grand Prix win

In 2011, backed by oil giant PDVSA, Pastor Maldonado became the first Venezuelan to race in F1 since Johnny Cecotto in 1984.

Let us not forget however, that Maldonado was a decent pedallar – having claimed the 2010 GP2 title – with the likes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton preceding him.

Joining Williams, he was handed a dog of a car in the FW33, scoring just one point in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Come 2012, and Williams was back on form – the FW34 proving a handy, quick and competitive package.

Maldonado took eighth in China in round three, before a DNF in Bahrain as F1 returned for the traditional start of the European season at Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix.

A Q3 car certainly, Maldonado set the fastest time in Q2, and somehow plonked the Williams on the front-row, out-qualifying Fernando Alonso by 0.017s.

A few hours later, P2 became P1 when pole-man Hamilton was flung out for not having enough fuel after qualifying.

Sunday, 13th May 2012 would prove to be possibly one of F1’s biggest ever upsets.

Being hunted down by a charging Alonso on home soil, Maldonado held firm against the Ferrari.

Somehow, he brought the car home P1 for Williams’s first win since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix – and their last to date.

It would prove to be the 114th and last win in the lifetime of founder Sir Frank Williams – who passed away in 2021.

He was also the hero a few hours later, when a fire erupted in the Williams garage, helping to rescue family members.

Fresh from his first pole, win and podium in F1 – Maldonado failed to kick on.

The usual careless mistakes – such as at Valencia later that year where late contact with Hamilton cost him a likely P3 -and the jump start at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix – crept in.

Come Abu Dhabi, he was on course for a legitimate podium on pace – although a KERS failure dropped him to P5 at the flag.

Pastor Maldonado now

Maldonado stayed at Williams for 2013 – but the FW35 was dreadfully slow as the team struggled to understand the coander exhausts.

For 2014, he took his PDVSA oil money to Lotus – partnering Romain Grosjean.

In his two years, he scored points on seven occasions, but did his reputation no favours with a series of amateur-looking crashes – including in the pit-entry on China 2015.

Maldonado’s last grand prix was the 2015 race in Abu Dhabi – when Alonso punted him off at Turn 1.

The PDVSA money dried up – about the same time as the oil did – with Lotus/Renault opting for Kevin Magunssen for 2016.

Maldonado spent time as the Pirelli test driver – before heading to the WEC and sportscar racing – where most ex-F1 drivers end up.

He took the LMP2 class win at the 2019 Spa 6 Hours alongside Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez.

Maldonado’s last race was the 2019 Daytona 24 Hours – where he once again claimed LMP2 class honours in the Dragonspeed machine.

Gonzalez, Sebastian Saavedra and Ryan Cullen were his co-drivers.

Pastor Maldonado now spends time with his young family – and is due to be in the paddock at the Spanish Grand Prix on May 20th-22nd to celebrate a decade since F1’s most unlikely win.


 

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