Maldonado’s 10-place qualifying penalty moves Alonso to 7th

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Williams F1 driver Pastor Maldonado has had high’s and low’s in the 2012 season and the final race in Brazil is starting off poorly for the Venezuelan driver. After securing a terrific 6th during qualifying on Saturday, the Williams driver will face a 10-space grid penalty for his failure in not heeding FIA directives to enter the weigh bridge during the session while entering the pits. Williams Executive Director, Toto Wolff said:

“It’s a bit unfortunate,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

“He was called to the weighing scale between the two runs. That is very unusual and was unexpected. So we are going to see what the stewards say. We hope we have a certain goodwill there because it’s an unusual thing.

“I hope we have a certain margin there because you come up [to the pit lane] very quick. You can see [in the replays] only the on-board [camera] which is a bit higher than the driver’s helmet, and as I said, [it was] very unusual between the sessions because then you have to change the whole programme.

“So he didn’t expect it.”

For Maldonado’s part, he said he didn’t see anything there but fans watched the world feed which was ironically focused completely on the FIA official pointing and the red light at pit entry signaling that the driver must turn into the weighing area. As it is, Maldonado is facing a steeper penalty than usually handed out as this signals his third reprimand of the 2012 season and that carries a larger penalty.

The penalty does help Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso’s cause in fighting for the world championship as his 8th place qualifying will now see him advance to 7th for the start of the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday.

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