Pastor Maldonado has "no idea" why the Hungarian Grand Prix stewards hit him with a drive-through penalty for his clash with Paul di Resta.
The Williams driver hit the Force India's sidepod with his front-left wheel while running side by side with him through Turn 11. This pushed di Resta onto the run-off while Maldonado made up a place. He is adamant that it was a legitimate overtaking manoeuvre and was unsure as to whether his recent record, which includes penalties in the European and British Grands Prix for contact, played a part in the decision.
"I have no idea why I got the penalty this time," he said. "It was a good overtaking maneuver. There was a small contact, but this is racing. I saw [Kimi] Raikkonen and [Romain] Grosjean [battling] and it was more or less the same."
Maldonado admitted that the contact happened because he had to correct a small slide. But he insists that the contact was not enough to justify the penalty that he got.
"The contact was so small," he said. "He decided to run wide because there was a lot of space off the track. There was nothing big from my point of view. It was a good move."
Chief operations engineer Mark Gillan backed his driver. He believes that the move was "reasonable" and that the penalty was disappointing.
"Looking at it, it seems a reasonable manoeuvre. He went to overtake di Resta, had a slight moment going in. Di Resta gave him a bit of space and Pastor took it.
"We weren't expecting it but we take it on the chin and move on. Maybe it wouldn't have made any difference to his final result, but it's still disappointing."
Maldonado, who finished 13th, believes that the penalty decision cost him a shot at 10th place.
"It cost the possibility of a point," he said. "We don't know, but my pace was good. I had a hard race, especially because of the start. We had the pace to fight for P10 as I was quicker than the Force Indias and even [Nico] Rosberg. But with the penalty, the chance was gone."