Pastor Maldonado was furious with his team after qualifying 18th. (Photo: Getty Images)

was furious with his team after qualifying 18th. (Photo: Getty Images)

A frustrated Pastor Maldonado suggested that Williams had deliberately made his life difficult in qualifying in Austin.

Maldonado qualified 18th, while teammate made Q3 and will start ninth.

Relations between the Venezuelan and his team have become increasingly strained since he made it clear that he was leaving.

After stepping out of his car, Maldonado told TV reporters: “You need to ask them, the guys that are working on the car, it is quite clear.”

Asked why he was slower than Bottas, he said: “I never got 100%. I think in my car somebody is playing with the pressure and the temperatures. But it’s one more race to go so that’s great…”

At a later media session he had only slightly toned down his thoughts, when asked if his car had been deliberately handicapped.

“Maybe, maybe not but I’ve never felt something like that. I know very well how the car is; even from the beginning of the season it was quite tough for us but I’v never felt something like that.

“The car is nowhere, the car is undriveable and it’s very clear on the onboards and the data where and when I’m suffering on the track. The car was turning more to one side than the other.”

Not surprisingly the team has denied the claims and said that Maldonado simply didn’t get the tires into the right operating window.

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