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Formula 1 Brazilian GP

Maldonado claims Ericsson clash was "racing incident"

Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado has defended his move on Sauber's Marcus Ericsson that netted the Venezuelan a five-second penalty in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 E23
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 Team
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber F1 Team
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 Team
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 Team

Maldonado made a late dive down the inside of Ericsson into Turn 1 on Lap 32 and ended up sending the Swede into a spin.

He subsequently had to serve a five-second time penalty in the pits and would end up finishing less than two seconds behind Max Verstappen.

"I believe it was a race incident with Ericsson," Maldonado said. "I tried to pass him, was on the inside, tried to avoid him, was completely on the kerb and he left no space.

"I've seen worse things that were not penalised."

The move landed Maldonado a sixth penalty point on his license, but the Venezuelan is still well away from the 12-point mark that would result in a race ban.

Mixed feelings on strategy

The Venezuelan was one of the two drivers to start the race on the medium compound, with the other - Carlos Sainz - out of action on Lap 1.

Maldonado went on to complete a two-stop race and, having originally finished 11th, he rued having to do the final stint on mediums after running softs only in the middle.

"The strategy wasn't bad, [but] maybe it was better to start with the softer compound and run the softer compound at the end of the race," he said.

"For a moment we were in the points, but the other guys were with a newer and softer tyre than us. That compromised everything in the end."

However, Maldonado was subsequently promoted back into the points when Felipe Massa was disqualified out of eighth place.

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