Maldonado accuses Williams of favoring Bottas

Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:33pm EST
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By Steve Keating

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Williams rejected any suggestion of favoritism or dirty tricks after their departing Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado made thinly-veiled accusations against the Formula One team on Saturday.

Maldonado, who is leaving after next week's finale in Brazil, qualified only 18th for the U.S. Grand Prix while Finnish rookie team mate Valtteri Bottas put his car in ninth place on the grid.

"I think in my car somebody is playing with the pressure and the temperatures. But one more race to go, so great," Maldonado told Britain's Sky Sports television.

"You need to ask the team, to the guys that are working on the car, it is quite clear," he added when asked to explain the difference between him and his team mate. "It is a question for them."

Maldonado has scored the former champions sole point of the season so far and has become increasingly frustrated by their performance.

The divorce between last year's Spanish Grand Prix winner and the team was sealed earlier in the week when Williams announced Maldonado would be leaving and Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa taking his place.

Maldonado, who has considerable financial backing from state oil company PDVSA, further stirred up controversy by telling reporters in Austin that he had "delivered more to the team than they did for me."

He has also made clear he is happy to be leaving and had sought the move.   Continued...

Williams Formula One driver Pastor Maldonado of Venezuela drives during the Indian F1 Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, October 27, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi