Maldonado hopeful of progress and points this weekend

© XPB 

Lotus Team F1's Pastor Maldonado has endured a troublesome start to the year with an elimination at the start in Australia and a retirement in Sepang. Needless to say, the Venezuelan's performance can only improve from its current level.

"It's a long year but in a sense our season starts here," said Maldonado. "We have a good car and we've been working hard since last year to reach the targets that have been set. But we're also still learning about the car, although we're going in the right direction so hopefully we can close the gap a bit with the teams in front of us."

While perhaps a victim of other driver's incidents in the first couple of races, Maldonado also insists on improving performance in qualifying in order to keep clear of trouble when the lights go green.
"To be honest, it is not frustrating, this is racing. When you are racing, you are risking. Unfortunately I had these two contacts in the first lap of both races, with other drivers, it's just unlucky. We need to be more ahead in the qualifying to avoid incidents and the risk from other drivers."
The Lotus driver also said it was difficult to properly assess the performance level of the E23 as circumstances have deprived him from a proper comparison with his rivals.

"It is difficult because we didn’t race body-to-body with our closest rivals, but I think we can fight with Red Bull and Toro Rosso. The car has changed a lot since pre-season testing, but there are still areas where we need to improve. We need downforce but at the same time need to maintain the same drag because we are quite fast on the straights, so it is not easy to find both together. We have some plans and projects to give us the extra downforce to help us jump a little bit forward and close the gap to Mercedes."

A clean race and points will be Maldonado's principal aim this weekend in China. "I think getting to Q3 is possible because we have the pace. Let’s see what the track conditions are like, the weather, how the car feels and how good a set-up we can get. I’m confident we should be fighting for good places."

Click here for Chris Medland's Chinese Grand Prix preview. 

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