x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Pastor Maldonado scores first point in Formula One

In other news from the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday, Senna takes responsibility for crash, Lotus form pleases Gascoyne, and testing to return.

Maldonado's first point

Pastor Maldonado put his qualifying collision with Lewis Hamilton behind him as he scored the first world championship point of his career on Sunday when he finished 10th. The Williams driver had been given a five-place grid penalty after colliding with Hamilton during the second part of qualifying, but he bounced back in the race. The Venezuelan driver said: "I'm really happy to score a point for both myself and for the team. It is a big improvement. During the race our pace was very consistent so I'm happy for that and I'm also pleased for my country. It was a hard race starting from the back, but I was pushing every single lap."

Alguersuari's despair

Jaime Alguersuari blamed Bruno Senna for ruining his chances of a points finish in Spa-Fancorchamps. The Spaniard had qualified sixth in his Toro Rosso, but was forced to retire after the first lap after being struck by Senna's Renault at the first corner. "I don't want to speak badly about any other driver as it's not my style, but I think the situation was quite clear to everyone," Alguersuari said. "Going into the hairpin after the start, I was in the middle with Senna on my inside and Fernando [Alonso] on my outside and Senna completely missed his braking point and hit me which pushed me into the path of the Ferrari."

Senna says sorry

While it is unlikely to have made Alguersuari feel too much better, Senna did hold up his hand and accept responsibility for the incident. Senna, who was making his debut for Renault as a replacement for Nick Heidfeld, ended up in 13th place after having to pit for a new front wing following the incident. Of the crash, he told the BBC: "I didn't do the first corner with high fuel, ever, and unfortunately I misjudged the braking area. There was no way for me to avoid Jaime and I am really sorry about his race. Fortunately for me there was no damage to the suspension and I could continue racing."

Lotus's good recovery

Team Lotus put in one of their strongest races of the season as Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen finished 14th and 15th respectively at Spa. The result was impressive as the pair had been last after the first corner, when they had made contact as a consequence of other accidents ahead of them. Mike Gascoyne, the Lotus team principal, said: "That is a very good result for the whole team today and goes down as one of our strongest performances since we came into the sport. We had a poor start where both cars were last after making contact in the first corner but we recovered very well, and to have finished in 14th and 15th after that is very pleasing."

D'Ambrosio content

Jerome d'Ambrosio enjoyed a low-key first home race as the Belgian finished 17th for Virgin Racing. He was one spot ahead of teammate Timo Glock, and said: "I'm very pleased how things went in my first home Grand Prix. There were quite a few incidents today so I focused on keeping it nice and clean and in the end the team has another good two-car result."

Mugello to host testing

F1 mid-season testing is set to return next year, with Mugello in Italy the expected venue for teams to be able to try out new components and set-ups. F1 sources told Autosport magazine that the test is expected to happen in May. Testing is currently banned once the season has begun.