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Williams’ Pastor Maldonado has been one of the sensations of the 2012 Formula One season

Newly confirmed for 2013, Williams’ Pastor Maldonado has been one of the sensations of the 2012 Formula One season, combining a superb Spanish Grand Prix win with a fair few visits to the stewards’ room. But who is the real Maldonado? Turns out he’s a tiger-like would-be baseball star who is very fussy about his pillows - and who struggles to ride a bike. We found out more…

Q: What keeps you awake at night?
Pastor Maldonado:
Bad pillows. I am very sensitive about the pillows - I like good ones. But I don’t travel with my own - I probably should. (laughs)

Q: What’s been your most valuable life lesson?
There have been a lot. I’ve attended a military school and there I got valuable lessons on life and respect. Later when I was racing in go-karts I was very shy, but that’s been solved! (laughs)

Q: What do you admire?
Seriousness and transparency, talent and approach. In sport I probably admire more the approach one person is taking rather than the talent.

Q: If you could give your younger self some advice what would it be?
I would say choose another sport - baseball. It is by far the most popular sport in Venezuela. It is a much easier career path, as it is somewhat easier to go there to play in the Major League than making it into Formula One. Okay, I liked the speed more than the bat, but I was talented enough to make it in baseball. I played in all the teams when I was younger.

Q: If your racing career ended after this season what would you do with the rest of your life?
Even if my F1 racing career were to end there is a lot to do in motorsport. I sure don’t have any musical talent that I could turn to. (laughs) But don’t let’s think about the end of the F1 career - I am just getting started. I’d like to hang around for a couple more years!

Q: What animal best reflects your personality?
The tiger.

Q: What is more important than winning?
My family.

Q: What would you spend your last dollar on?
Food and something to drink.

Q: What is your biggest weakness?
I have a lot. (laughs) My character? Sometimes I am too strong with myself. Many times I ask more from myself than is needed.

Q: What’s your ultimate comfort food?
I like meat and fruits. I have a whole basket of fruits at home in my fridge - pretty much everything that grows on trees and bushes.

Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a race?
Sleep, rest, watch TV, and browse the Internet. Couch potato…

Q: What scares you?

Q: What’s your favourite smell?

Q: What’s the best advice you have been given?
None - yet.

Q: Are you the man you always thought you would become?
Yes, I feel really lucky. I have chosen a sport and I’ve got to the top rung of that sport. And now that I am here I crave more. As a sportsman you always want more. It is just like with money - you already have a lot but there is still the craving for more. I think the wanting more in sports is even stronger than the drive for more money - it is more addictive.

Q: What tastes like home?
Latin American families are big and they stick together. Uncles, cousins, all coming to our house and cooking together.

Q: When were you happiest?
When I’ve won a race - Barcelona. That has massively set free the ‘happy’ hormone.

Q: What event can’t you forget but would wish you could?
In 2007 when I was training with a bike I fell and broke my collarbone. That was stupid and completely unnecessary. I am racing at 300km/h and then I fall off a bike… (laughs)

Q: If you had to stay in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
Los Roques Islands in Venezuela - the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It is cut off from everything, so there it’s all about a simple life in sheer beauty.

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