Maldonado hints that his car was tampered with
Pastor Maldonado has suggested the tyre pressures on his car were set incorrectly by his team ahead of qualifying for the United States Grand Prix - a claim Williams denies.
Maldonado dropped out in the opening session of qualifying and was over 1.5s slower than team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who topped the timesheets in Q1. Maldonado, who is leaving Williams next year, said he had been struggling all weekend but that his car was so slow in qualifying that he suspected someone had tampered with the tyre pressures.
"It was quite a hard beginning to weekend yesterday and this morning but in qualifying it was even worse," he said. "I never got 100% from the tyres and I think in my car somebody is playing with the pressures and temperatures - it's not that clear. One more race to go so ... great."
Asked what the reason was for the gap to Bottas, he said: "You need to ask the team and the guys who are working on the car. It's quite clear..."
He later explained that the car had been pulling to one side.
"I'm not working on the car so it's difficult to say [what the problem was]. All I know is the car was very strange from the driving point of view. I've never felt something like that, the car was pulling more to one side than the other. For sure it's something really difficult to know. It was not just the typical problems we have had all through the season, today we have something more."
Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams denied that her team would have done anything to damage Maldonado's chances.
"Qualifying is a big adrenaline rush for drivers and people say things after these situations. We have to go back and go and talk to the engineers and see what happened. Never in Williams' history would we ever do anything like that.
"Within the team, behind closed doors, it's not acrimonious. There's not that kind of atmosphere in the team. I don't see any sort of issue. Pastor has said he wants to go to another team and that's absolutely fine. This is Formula One, it's the nature of the beast."