Pastor Maldonado has cleared the air with Esteban Gutierrez in the wake of their crash in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Lotus’ Maldonado ran into the side of Gutierrez, sending the Mexican’s Sauber into a somersault from which he escaped without injury.

Maldonado was handed a ten-second stop-go penalty, and on further review by the stewards will also now drop five places on the grid for this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Under the new regulations in which drivers collect penalty points – a total of 12 in a 12-month period from the date of the first offence will mean a one-race ban – Maldonado collected three points.

The Venezuelan, renowned for his incident-prone record, has chatted with Gutierrez about the shunt in Bahrain.

“We have been in touch,” said Maldonado. “It was a misunderstanding on both sides. He was out of line in the entry of the corner, and I was completely committed to the corner.

“He said he didn’t see me, and I didn’t expect him to turn in.”

Meanwhile,Maldonado expressed his disappointment that the Enstone-based team’s post-race testing was hit by engine trouble.

He said: “The plan was to work on performance, evaluating parts and set-ups.

“However, we were unable to run though the programme due to power unit issues.

“We need to check and understand what has happened.”

Now Maldonado and teammate Romain Grosjean will be hoping for better fortune in this weekend’s race in Shan-ghai.

Grosjean, who celebrates his 28th birthday tomorrow added: “I scored my first Formula 1 points at Shanghai in 2012 and scored points again last year when Kimi (Raikkonen) finished second for the team.

“So let’s hope that’s a good omen and we can add to the good memories this weekend.

“If we can get a little bit more performance and reliability, we’ll be finishing in the points.”

“We just have to push as hard as we can.”