Williams Renault surged to victory in the Spanish Grand Prix and landed Williams a first podium finish in eight years.
The win was just one of a number of successful finishes for the RenaultSport team with Kimi Raikkonenen also making the podium with a third place finish in the Lotus Renault.
Team-mate Romain Grosjean is just one place further back in the other Lotus, picking up some valuable points for his team in the Constructors' Championship.
Current champion Sebastien Vettel has a bad afternoon by his high standards but still managed to acquire enough points to top the drivers' leaderboard after steering his RenaultSport-powered Red Bull home in sixth place.
While Maldonado rightly collected the trophy and the plaudits, McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton deserves a special mention for finishing in eighth place despite starting from 24th on the grid.
The UK ace had set the fastest time in qualifying, earning yet another pole for the season, but was demoted to last place after running out of fuel on his way back to the pits.
Jenson Button finished one place behind his team-mate in ninth, while Heikki Kovalainen and Vitaly Petrov finished in 16th and 17th respectively in the Caterham Renault.
This meant that Bruno Senna was the only RenaultSport driver not to finish after colliding with Michael Schumacher on the first turn of the 12th lap.
Maldonado said the win, his maiden career victory, was one for him and the team as a whole.
"We have been pushing so hard since last year to try to improve race by race and here we are," he said.
"I need to say I'm pretty happy because the car was so competitive since the first lap. Fernando did a better start than me but I was just following the pace and it was so great. It's my first podium and my first victory and you can imagine what I feel."
Posted by Louise Clark