Pastor Maldonado blamed cold tyres and oversteer for his collision with Sergio Pérez at the 3rd practice.
The stewards went hard on him and handed the Williams driver an instant ten-place grid penalty for what they described as a deliberate chopping manoeuvre.
After Maldonado ran into the back of the slower Sauber at the final corner, he was allowed through as the pair reached Portier at the bottom end of the circuit. When passing, the Barcelona winner – involved in a similar incident with Lewis Hamilton at last year’s Belgian Grand Prix – was seen to swerve into the path of the Mexican.
“I had a lot of oversteer, on cold tyres, and was trying to recover the car when I touched Pérez,” Maldonado explained to Sky Sports. “It was a small touch. The stewards just directly said it was ten-place penalty. I was just trying to do my best.
“Tomorrow will be a tough one. I think we need to attack from the beginning. This is not the Monaco from many years ago; now, with DRS and KERS, you can attack. It’s going to be very difficult but we do have good pace for tomorrow.”
It is possible that a damaged right-rear wheel caused Maldonado’s heavy crash in Casino Square in the final minutes of practice; furthermore, the contact to the left-front wheel of Pérez may be the reason for his own crash during qualifying, which leaves him last on the grid and just five places behind the penalized Williams man.
Source: GP Update Image: Sutton