Romain Grosjean firmly believes the Hungarian Grand Prix “could have been the one”, after a whole host of errors and penalties denied the Frenchman the ability to finish on the podium or even better. After qualifying a highly competitive 3rd on the grid, the former GP2 Champion became embroiled in several on-track misdemeanors.
Throughout the weekend many were predicting Romain Grosjean as the man to watch in his Renault-powered Lotus E21, as the Frenchman seemed to be continuing with his impressive pace after the German Grand Prix several weeks ago. After ending the third and final practice session fastest ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez, many expected him to be a strong contender for victory during the race. Initially Romain Grosjean lived up to his expectations, hounding Sebastian Vettel during the opening stages of the race.
However, as they came up to overtake Jenson Button on Lap 24 the Frenchman collided with the McLaren driver at Turns 6 and 7. Although no major damage was caused to either driver, it was the beginning of a downward spiral for Romain Grosjean who later overtook Felipe Massa around the outside of Turn 4 and gained an advantage by running slightly wide. This saw him struck with a drive-thru penalty, before also being issued with a 20-second timed penalty after the race for his earlier altercation with Jenson Button.
“For sure this is one that got away, but I’m very happy with my race and I honestly don’t think I could have done much more.” Explained Romain Grosjean, “Maybe the strategy didn’t quite work how we wanted, but the car felt really good and it was the traffic that cost us. Without this maybe there would never have been a drive-through penalty which for sure didn’t help. I haven’t seen the footage yet and I thought it was a good move, but unfortunately the stewards took a different view. I’ve no problem with the time-added for the incident with Jenson [Button] and I apologized to him afterwards. This could have been the one for me, but we will just have to wait a little bit longer and keep improving like we have been recently to make it happen.”
After the race Felipe Massa came to Romain Grosjean’s aid, stating how he believed the drive-thru penalty issued to the Lotus driver for the overtake on the Brazilian was completely wrong. The move in question occurred at the high-speed left-hand kink at Turn 4, which incorporates a vast tarmac run-off area should a driver make a mistake whilst negotiating the corner. Felipe Massa is adamant that the Frenchman only went two wheels wide, and not four.
“If he took the penalty because of what he did with me, that’s completely wrong,” explained Felipe Massa, who eventually finished 8th. “He didn’t go four wheels outside, he went with two wheels. Two wheels is possible.”
Romain Grosjean will be looking to put the events of the Hungarian Grand Prix behind him during the four-week summer break, before the Frenchman returns to action in Belgium. It was around the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit that he was the catalyst for the horrific Turn 1 incident last season, which eventually led to his one-race ban.
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