The stewards imposed a three-place grid penalty on the Williams driver, dropping him to sixth.
The incident had taken place during Q1, with race control immediately announcing that it would be investigated.
The decision is set to elevate Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen to third, behind Jenson Button and Kamui Kobayashi.
Maldonado had declared his qualifying result a sign that Williams would have a much more competitive second half of the 2012 Formula 1 season.
Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg had already been hit with five-place gearbox change penalties, dropping them to 12th and 23rd on the grid respectively after qualifying.