Four-season GP2 stalwart Pastor Maldonado has finally earned his way into the big leagues, taking a seat at Williams F1 for the 2011 season. The Venezuelan driver replaces Nico Hulkenburg following the German's less-than-stellar showing for the 2010 season despite a surprise pole position in drying conditions in Brazil.

Maldonado is no stranger to competition with Hulkenburg, as the two drove for the same team in GP2 in 2009 before Hulkenburg moved on to take the seat Maldonado now occupies. That GP2 team, ART Racing, has ushered many recent F1 additions into the fold, including Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Lucas di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi, Sakon Yamamoto, and Romain Grosjean. Despite the second-choice status, Maldonado appears amped to be driving in F1.

"I tested with the team in Abu Dhabi, but can’t wait to start working with everyone properly to be in the best possible shape going into next year. I will be doing my best over the winter to prepare myself, and I know the team will be working hard to ensure a successful season," said Maldonado in an official Williams release.

Maldonado's replacement of Hulkenburg comes on the heels of a very successful GP2 season, where he set a new record of six straight wins on his way to taking the championship for the Rapax Team. He will be driving alongside one of F1's most experienced drivers in history, Rubens Barrichello.

[Williams F1]