Pastor Maldonado had to retire from a promising but ultimately rather frustrating Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang International Circuit.
Romain Grosjean ran as high as third during the race, but later traffic and an induced 360° spin meant a P11 finish. Pastor Maldonado suffered from a first lap puncture then had to retire nine laps from the chequered flag due to a braking issue.
Romain Grosjean (P11, E23-02): “Overall we had quite a good race with a strong first lap and some nice overtaking, although I lost a lot of time behind Hulkenberg and then the spin with Perez in such a fast corner. I had some fun overtaking with Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Force India, which was great, and we had a good strategy but we lost too much time to benefit from it. I also had an issue with my drinks bottle which added to the fun. Overall the car behaved well though and we’re not far from the top ten so we’ll work to close the gap for China."
Pastor Maldonado (DNF, E23-03): “The potential is clearly there, especially in the race where the car pace is very competitive and we can score good points. Unfortunately there was an incident on the first lap which lost me a lot of time and compromised the race from then on. Despite dropping to the very back fo the field, we switched to a different strategy and we recovered well. Unfortunately, we suffered from a brake issue, which isn’t great but it’s effectively our first race and we need to keep working through issues, ready for the next Grand Prix. As soon as we have a clean race, we will be fighting for good points."
Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal: "Today was about unfulfilled potential. Both Pastor and Romain could have scored strongly but events out of their hands meant they did not. That’s motor racing sometimes and we’re firmly focused on China to open our points account. We’ve shown again that the E23 is a great package and both our drivers are capable of delivering with the very best. Shanghai will present a challenge very different from the one seen here so that’s our next focus.”
Nick Chester, Technical Director: "Romain was looking set for a pretty strong result however traffic and being tipped into a spin undid that potential whilst Pastor suffered from a first lap puncture then a problem with the brakes late in the race. It’s a shame as we demonstrated good pace in qualifying and reasonable race pace in clear air in the very high temperatures here today. We’re very eager to get back out on track in Shanghai and we’re learning more about the E23’s potential every time it’s out on track."
Lotus F1 Team