Maldonado clears the air with Gutierrez

Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:20am EDT
 
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By Abhishek Takle

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Lotus Formula One driver Pastor Maldonado has cleared the air with Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez after picking up a grid penalty for sending the Mexican flying at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Venezuelan refused to take the blame for the incident, however, and told reporters in China on Thursday that the spectacular flip had been a normal racing incident.

Maldonado, who has made numerous trips to see the stewards in the past for his aggressive driving, was hit with a 10-second stop-and-go during the race and will lose five places on the starting grid for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

"I think talking with him it was a normal race contact, that's it," said the Venezuelan on a damp and grey afternoon at the Shanghai Circuit.

"He (Gutierrez) said 'I didn't see you' because -- it's difficult to say -- because the image is not that clear depending on which perspective you see.

"But he was completely out of the line and then at the exit of the corner he started to come on the line."

Gutierrez was turning into the tight first corner of the Sakhir circuit when Maldonado, who was exiting the pits, speared into the side of the Sauber.

The contact flipped Gutierrez's car into the air and caused it to roll, prompting an exclamation of surprise over the radio from the startled Mexican.   Continued...

 
The car of Sauber Formula One driver Esteban Gutierrez of Mexico is removed from the track after his collision with Lotus Formula One driver Pastor Maldonado of Venezuela during the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir, south of Manama April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed