Pastor Maldonado is confident that the similarities between the Hungaroring and Monaco, where he was denied a possible top-six finish by being pushed into the wall by Lewis Hamilton, could help him to score his first Formula 1 points this weekend.
The Venezuelan, who won the GP2 feature race at the Hungaroring last year and also claimed victory in a Euroseries 3000 race there in 2007, believes that the characteristics of the track could allow him to fight for position higher in the midfield than he has in recent races.
As well as being a track dominated by slow corners, Pirelli has allocated the super-soft and soft tire compounds that were used in Monaco. This means that despite the Hungaroring not requiring the same precision driving between barriers, there are plenty of features in common with the track where Maldonado starred two months ago.
"It is not exactly the same, but in terms of setup Hungary is very close to Monaco," said Maldonado when asked if he thought he could recapture his Monaco form in Hungary. "The track is very bumpy and it's very difficult mentally and physically, so on that side of things, it's very much like Monaco. Having the supersoft and the soft tire should work better with our car. So I hope to close the gap a little bit more [to the front] than in the previous races at normal tracks."
Maldonado has shown impressive Saturday form so far this season, out-qualifying his vastly more experienced teammate Rubens Barrichello five times in 10 races. But he has called on the team to improve the performance of its car in race trim, with tire degradation a particular weakness. His best race finish this year has been 14th, which he claimed at the Nurburgring and Silverstone, but he has qualified in the top 10 on three occasions, showing that the car struggles on long runs.
"The car is a bit more competitive in qualifying than during the race," said Maldonado. "We are working hard to improve on that. If we could be more consistent during the race, it will give the engineers more chances strategically. Our strategies in the races can be very limited because we have to work with the tires. We have been progressing on this, but not enough."
"Tire wear will be one of the most important things during Sunday's race, so it will be a tough weekend for everybody. We need to manage that situation really well."