Pastor Maldonado has been slapped with a feather by the FIA stewards for a shocking display of retaliatory driving on Lewis Hamilton during the pair’s slow-down lap at the end of the second phase of qualifying.
Maldonado, who qualified 16th-fastest, was slapped with a five-place grid penalty after footage appeared to indicate that he deliberately sideswiped Hamilton’s McLaren as the duo headed towards Eau Rouge.
The fracas started when Hamilton made light contact with the Venezuelan at the Bus Stop Chicane while attempting to post his final qualifying lap at the end of Q2. As the pair started their slow-down lap to return to the pits, Maldonado then made heavier contact with Hamilton, causing damage to the McLaren.
Both were later summoned to the Stewards, where Hamilton was reprimanded and Maldonado was given a five-place grid penalty, ostensibly for causing an avoidable collision.
In our opinion, the penalty is grossly disproportionate to the seriousness of the matter, and we would be surprised if Maldonado still feels some bad blood towards Hamilton for being taken out of a points’ position during the Monaco Grand Prix.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t excuse this disgraceful piece of driving, and he can count himself lucky that he wasn’t given a race ban for his troubles.
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