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From triumph to terror: Maldonado's unforgettable win

Pastor Maldonado secured a famous victory in the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix which was followed hours later by a shocking Williams garage fire.

Maldonado Alonso Raikkonen Spain 2012
To news overview © XPBimages

On this day 12 years ago, Pastor Maldonado defied the odds to claim a famous victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, denying Fernando Alonso a win on home soil. 

Shortly after Maldonado's victory, however, a horrifying fire broke out in the Williams garage, caused by a reported KERS unit failure. 

The blaze unfolded during the team's celebrations of its first victory since Juan-Pablo Montoya won the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix. To this day, no Williams driver has taken the chequered flag since Maldonado. 

In winning the 2012 Spanish GP, Maldonado became the first F1 race winner and podium finisher from Venezuela, marking a significant moment for his home country. 

How Maldonado defied the odds

Maldonado put himself in the perfect position to be in with a chance of victory after securing a staggering pole position, whilst Alonso started alongside the then-27-year-old on the front row.

Lewis Hamilton would have started on pole instead of Maldonado but was disqualified from the session after running out of fuel on his in-lap. 

As the lights went out, Maldonado was overtaken by Alonso at the first corner, sending the home fans into pandemonium. 

Losing the lead so early did not unsettle the Williams driver, who remained within striking distance of Alonso.

Maldonado remaining close to Alonso allowed the Grove-based team to perform an undercut. A pit stop for the Williams driver on lap 25 ensured he rejoined the race in clean air, whilst Alonso encountered traffic. 

It meant that when Ferrari called Alonso in for his pit stop, his advantage over Maldonado was not big enough to exit the pits in the lead. At Maldonado's following stop, however, his right-rear tyre was slow to go on, opening the door to Alonso. 

Alonso was suddenly much closer to the Williams driver after his final pit stop, although in the lead was Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen who was attempting an alternative strategy. 

On old tyres, the 2007 world champion was slow, which held up Maldonado and allowed Alonso to make sizeable gains on the pair after pitting for the final time. It was pivotal that Maldonado found a way past Raikkonen to diminish the threat of Alonso. 

That is exactly what the Venezuelan did two laps after Alonso's final stop following an excellent move on Raikkonen into the first corner with the help of DRS.

It was a move which secured Williams a famous victory before Maldonado then played hero after the fire took hold as he carried his 12-year-old cousin Manuel to safety as the boy had a broken foot.  

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