A thrilling British Grand Prix saw Mark Webber climb to the top of the podium this year for the second time, beating out pole sitter Fernando Alonso in the last stage of the race. Unfortunately, the race also saw Pastor Maldonado involved in an incident that brought another driver’s race to an end for the second time in a row.
Ever since his win in Barcelona, Maldonado’s public support has collapsed. His reputation was dealt a huge blow when he crashed with Hamilton in the final laps of the race, bringing Hamilton’s race to an end. In Monaco, Maldonado put Sergio Perez in danger during practice by suddenly cutting in front of the Sauber driver. And finally today was an incident between Maldonado and Sergio Perez, causing Perez to crash out of the race.
Perez was attempting to overtake Maldonado after the DRS zone into Brooklands corner. Perez tried to take the outside line all the way through the corner to overtake, but made contact with Maldonado midway through the corner. Maldonado was able to limp back to the pits and finish a lonely sixteenth, while Perez was out of the race then and there. Watching the incident for the first time, I immediately blamed Maldonado for the incident. I assumed he was attempting to push Perez out onto a dirty line and take the better line for the next corner. However, I watched the incident several times and in my opinion, Maldonado should not take all the blame.
Perez put his car on the outside of Maldonado’s. By doing this, he is putting himself at risk of having an accident. F1 cars run wide frequently, and Perez knows this. On entry into the corner, Maldonado lost the back end of the car and slid wide by a couple of feet. Had Perez not been there, Maldonado would most likely have recovered and carried on racing. Rather than an over-aggressive maneuver to push Perez wide, the accident was a result of Maldonado losing control of the rear of his car. One would argue that a good driver should have maintained control of the car, but under such pressure every driver has made mistakes. Maldonado was not making an aggressive move as he did in Valencia. He was taking a normal racing line, attempting to defend his position, and lost control while doing so. This is the reason why this collision should be ruled a racing incident.
Perez went on a rant at the end of the race about how Maldonado makes errors and ruined the races of both Perez and Hamilton. He went on to call Maldonado a “very stupid driver.” Most likely, Perez was incredibly frustrated at the time of this statement, and probably had not watched the footage of the incident. Perez has a strong reason to be angry at Maldonado, especially after their completely unnecessary coming-together in Monaco. Don’t get me wrong, I still acknowledge that Maldonado is a particularly aggressive, possibly dangerous driver. In this case however, he should not take the blame completely.
Immediately after the crash, fans were full of anger toward Pastor Maldonado, criticizing his dangerous behavior and his reckless driving. It was somewhat unfortunate, because I believe that Maldonado was blamed for this incident simply because of his history with other incidents. There are accident-prone drivers, and Maldonado is certainly one of them. But I find it unfair that he be blamed immediately for this incident due to his reputation, as he was not entirely at fault for this collision today. In my opinion, he should receive no penalty for his collision today.