It’s one for the history books for Pastor Maldonado…
The 27-year-old Formula One driver produced the race of his life to hold off Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix to became the first Venezuelan driver to win a Formula One race.
It was a flawless drive for Maldonado, who started from the pole and survived the challenge by Alonso to take the 66-lap race at the Catalunya Circuit by 3.1 seconds.
“It’s a wonderful day for me and the team. An unforgettable race,” said Maldonado, who was hoisted onto the shoulders of Alonso and Raikkonen before being doused in champagne. “It was a tough race, with the strategy and a couple of laps we were struggling. But the car was so competitive from the first lap.”
Maldonado’s victory, in just his 24th race, handed Williams its 114th triumph but first since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix. The Venezuelan driver also became 2012’s fifth winner in five races.
But in a dramatic turn of events for Maldonado… The Venezuelan race car driver ended he day a hero when he carried his young cousin to safety after flames engulfed the team garage.
In all, 16 people were injured, one with severe burns, by the fire – believed to have been caused by an electrical fault in a fuel rig.
Maldonado had to carry his 12-year-old cousin Manuel, wearing a protective boot on a broken right foot, to safety as thick, black smoke billowed down the pit lane at the Catalunya circuit.
The Williams team said four of its members were injured.