'I was scared after the garage fire'

'I was scared after the garage fire'

Pastor Maldonado spoke on Thursday of how he had feared a tragic ending to his astonishing Spanish Grand Prix success in Barcelona last weekend.

The Williams garage caught fire at the Circuit de Catalunya as members of the Formula One team, including wheelchair-bound principal and founder Frank Williams, had gathered for a victory photograph. “At that moment I was so scared for all of us,” said Maldonado, the first Venezuelan to win a race and a 500-1 long-shot before sensationally putting his car on the front row in qualifying.

“I think we were so lucky because we had no big damage and especially because our people were okay,” the 27-year-old added in a conference call from the team's factory in Grove, England.

Maldonado, who started on pole after McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was demoted to the back of the grid, was photographed carrying his 12-year-old cousin piggyback away from the smoke-filled pitlane.

The cousin had been wearing a cast on his foot from a previous injury. “I saw my cousin who was with a small injury, I took him and brought him away from the box,” said Maldonado. “It was a difficult moment for all the team but we've been so happy even after that because of the win.”

The victory was the first for former champions Williams in nearly eight years. Maldonado said he had seen happy faces at the factory when he returned to work, felt more motivated than ever and hoped to challenge again for victory in Monaco next week.

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