Pastor Maldonado says he was the Max Verstappen of his era, while claiming he had expected a move to Ferrari in 2014 after holding talks with the Scuderia.
Maldonado raced in F1 between 2011 and 2015 for Williams and Lotus, securing a famous win at the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but also developing a reputation for incidents with other drivers, and even some with none nearby.
"I was the only one, I was the new guy in F1," Maldonado told F1's 'Beyond The Grid' podcast.
"It's like Verstappen at the moment. Like Robert Kubica at his time. I was the guy at the time. People were coming to me, they were happy to talk to me, and they were happy to discuss me.
"What was not clear was the relationship with the sponsors [Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA], of course.
"It was a lot of conflict of interest against the sponsors and we were negotiating about that. My sponsors were open to maybe not to be on the car or be with another company, they were open to find a solution to my career.
"At some point we got very close to Ferrari. I was expecting the move at the time.
"That was my time. It was the moment to have a second chance, not to fight to try to show [my ability] every day, because it was impossible."
He added: "We lost the contacts and the communication and we focused on [other options].
"I've never been to Maranello but we had a few meetings at the track. I met Domenicali a few times and I met also Di Montezemolo."
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