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2 Valtteri Bottas
3 Lewis Hamilton

Pastor: Williams close to top teams

Tuesday 12th February 2013

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Pastor: Williams close to top teams

Pastor: Williams close to top teams

Pastor Maldonado has high hopes for the 2013 season as he believes Williams will be able to give the top teams a run for their money.

After claiming only five points during a torrid 2011 season, Williams hit back strongly last year with Maldonado winning the Spanish Grand Prix in a campaign that yielded 76 points.

However, the team will be first to admit that there is plenty of room for improvement as they didn't quite manage to reach the lofty Barcelona heights later in the year and generally struggled to string together a decent few races.

Maldonado, though, is optimistic about their chances for the new season and feels they are edging closer to the teams at the front of the grid.

"I think we are quite close to the [other] teams and we showed that last year. We are quite close to the top teams," Maldonado told Sky Sports F1 Online.

"It's always difficult to predict every year - you never know what the others are doing - but if we compare what we did last year and what we are doing for the next season, we have great potential and we feel confident with the package.

"And that is very important to feel confident with yourself and with the team with what you have to start the season. I know it's going to be very difficult because the competition is very tight, the driver level is very high as well, so it's going to be one more great season I hope."

With one race win already behind his name, the Venezuelan hopes to get a few more P1s, but he knows they won't come easy with so many quality drivers and teams on the grid.

"We have been pushing so hard the last two years and we must concrete our potential. We won one race last year and I hope to continue like that," he said.

"It's going to be very difficult; the changes in the car are not so big for everybody, the rules are more or less the same, but we've been working so hard and I hope to be more competitive than in the last year. [I have] more experience as well and fingers crossed to have a great season."

He added: "We had a couple of aero problems last year, which is not the case now. We have been pushing so hard on that side to develop the car and now we hope to have a very competitive car - even from the beginning of the season. And I feel ready, ready to do great races."

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