• Belgian Grand Prix

Maldonado given five-place grid penalty for Hamilton collision

Laurence Edmondson at Spa-Francorchamps
August 27, 2011 « Webber 'in the hunt' | »
Pastor Maldonado: "He slowed down a lot at the end of the session, so I tried to go past him. I then felt contact at the back of my car" © Sutton Images
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Pastor Maldonado has been hit a five-place grid penalty for the incident involving Lewis Hamilton in the second session of qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix, while Hamilton has been given a reprimand.

The pair were involved in a collision after the chequered flag when Maldonado appeared to overtake and cut across the front wing of Hamilton's car. The contact damaged the McLaren and followed a banging of wheels through the final chicane when Hamilton overtook Maldonado.

The stewards of the meeting deemed both collisions to be avoidable and meted out the penalties respectively.

Maldonado claimed he was unaware of Hamilton's position and was caught by surprise when the pair collided the second time.

"About what happened with Lewis," he said. "He slowed down a lot at the end of the session, so I tried to go past him. I then felt contact at the back of my car. I don't really know what happened. It was a difficult moment."

Hamilton took a different view.

"I thought that through the last corner I had to get past those guys and we perhaps touched a bit. Whether he was upset about that or not and wanted to make a point of it, I don't know.

"I haven't spoken to Maldonado so I don't know from his point of view what happened, but it's clear from the footage that we're going down a straight that curves to the right and he's on the far right and I'm far on the left, and can't go any more to the left, and somehow his car ends up hitting me and is right in front. It's up to everybody else to come up with their own opinions about it, but I didn't drive into anyone."

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