Williams: Maldonado, Bottas have equal status

Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams has refuted suggestions by Pastor Maldonado they are favouring Valtteri Bottas over the Venezuelan.

Pastor Maldonado

Maldonado recently burned his bridges with Williams after announcing to them he wanted to quit after three years with the Grove-based marque, resulting in the hiring of Felipe Massa from 2014.

Renowned as a fiery character, Maldonado suggested after qualifying for the United States Grand Prix on Sunday sabotage had taken place with regard to his car.

That was prompted by the fact Maldonado failed to make it out of the initial 20-minute session topped by Bottas, with the duo a staggering 1.5 seconds apart.

Responding to the scenario, Maldonado said: "It was quite a hard beginning of the weekend - yesterday [Friday], this morning [Saturday], in qualifying even worse.

"I never got 100 per cent from the tyres. In my car somebody is playing with the pressures, temperature. It's not that clear. It's one more race to go - great!"

Asked to explain the difference between himself and Bottas, the 27-year-old replied: "It's difficult to say.

"You need to speak to the guys who are working on the car. It's quite clear, but it's a question for them."

That prompted a sharp response from Williams who, speaking to Press Association Sport, said: "This is racing, it's emotional.

"There are always comments immediately after he gets out of the cockpit. That's absolutely fine."

With regard to Williams favouring Bottas, Williams added: "That's not the case. We would never do that.

"They have equal status within this team. There is no favouring of any driver going on whatsoever.

"Williams has never done that and we never will do that."

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