During the latter stages of the 2015 Singapore GP, there was an on track battle between Jenson Button and Pastor Maldonado.
The Venezuelan made a desperate move on Button and ran wide onto the run off area as a result. He re-joined just ahead of Button into the next turn.
However, Maldonado appeared to park it on the corner to ensure Button could not re-take the position and Jenson hit the back of his Lotus car.
When questioned after the race, Jenson commented, “I don’t think he brake-tested me on the exit, but he didn’t accelerate, so it was a bit of a surprise.”
Jenson collided with the rear of the Lotus and later retired from the race with unrelated car problems.
The stewards decided no action was required from them, which surprised Button who was adamant: “The corner before that, he just drove me off the circuit. If there was a wall there I would have been in it – very strange.
“He hasn’t changed and he won’t ever change.”
Pastor Maldonado has now hit back at the criticism from the McLaren–Honda driver.
“No driver’s happy if there’s a car in front of them and they want to get past, especially if it damages their car trying to overtake.
“We both got damage to our cars; he was behind me trying to get past, I was defending my position. That’s racing”.
Lotus have since confirmed that Maldonado will be driving for them in 2016, regardless of the outcome of a possible Renault takeover of the Enstone team.
Pastor Maldonado has finished just 5 races from 13 this season, twice in the points with two 7th places. By comparison his team mate Romain Grosjean has 9 race finishes, 6 top 10 finishes and a podium in Belgium.
Grosjean has announced he has decided where he will be next year and it appears it will not be at Lotus. Speaking to French broadcaster Canal+ yesterday, Cyril Abiteboul admitted, “It’s a shame we couldn’t talk about it [Grosjean staying at Enstone], but we maybe were not ready in time. It’s all about timing. Romain is a great driver, he deserves a great team.”
The Renault buyout of Lotus is still dependent on Ecclestone giving the French F1 manufacturer proper recognition for prior world titles won.
Red Bull Racing receive $80 million a year for their historic contribution to Formula One.