Maldonado says light turned red too late

Pastor Maldonado has blamed his failure to stop at the weighbridge during Q2, which earned him a reprimand and triggered an automatic 10-place grid penalty, on the signal light turning red too late.

Drivers can be called to the weighbridge at any time when they enter the pits during qualifying, with a light on the pit-wall going red to indicated that they must stop.

But Maldonado did not see the light, leading to the reprimand for failing "to proceed directly tot he FIA garage when signalled to do so."

"It's 50/50," said Maldonado when asked by AUTOSPORT about the incident. "The light came on quite late.

"It was the first time that we run the 100km/h in the pitlane and when you are at 100km/h and the light is just 20 metres ahead of you, it's too late.

"Maybe the light was completely red when I crossed it but at the same time, the entry of the pitlane is very narrow, you are very low in the car and there is a hill.

"When the hill finishes, there is the light, so it is a difficult situation."

Despite lining up 16th after ending qualifying sixth, Maldonado is confident of being able to fight for points, particularly in wet conditions.

"The car is good, we are not very far away [in terms of pace]," he said.

"I'm very confident for tomorrow. Maybe it will be better than today, so we will see.

"I've been quite quick even at the start of qualifying when it was wet, I was immediately at the top so I am quite confident we can be strong."