Spanish GP hero Maldonado saves 12-year-old cousin from fire

May 15, 2012, 10:53 IST | AFP

Pastor Maldonado became the first Venezuelan to win a Formula One race by triumphing at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday before going on to play an heroic role in a dramatic blaze in his Williams team's garage.

Maldonado’s win, in just his 24th race, was also the team’s first victory since the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix. But on a dramatic day for the Venezuelan driver, he was later pictured on Twitter carrying his young cousin to safety after the team garage was engulfed by flames.

Pastor Maldonado

A generator exploded resulting in a fire when the Williams team were celebrating their win. A total of 16 people were injured, one with severe burns, when the fire — believed to have been caused by an electrical fault in a fuel rig — broke out. Maldonado was forced to carry his 12-year-old cousin Manuel, who was wearing a protective boot on a broken right foot, to safety as thick, black smoke billowed down the pit lane at the Catalunya Circuit.

The Catalan regional government said that one person was airlifted to hospital with serious burns, while five others were taken to a local hospital for the effects of smoke inhalation. Ten more were treated at the circuit’s medical centre. 

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