Grosjean celebrated his 50th F1 start by scoring the first points of the season for Lotus. Despite not being able to maintain his encouraging grid position, it was still a positive day for the Frenchman.
He surprised many by holding on to fifth place in the early stages and after the first round of pit stops, before his E22 developed a power-unit problem that cost him time on the straights and meant he was often powerless to defend his position.
Considering his lack of straight line speed, he put in a strong drive to take eighth place, admitting afterwards that it was one of the hardest races he has competed in for a long time. Lotus still has a long way to go, but it was a good step in the right direction.
However, it was – like Saturday – a completely different story on the other side of the garage. Maldonado’s race was already compromised by starting 21st on the grid after his qualifying crash, but contact with Marcus Ericsson on the opening lap didn’t help his progress.
The Venezuelan driver was handed a five second stop/go penalty during the race, before being given one penalty point afterwards by the stewards. He put in a decent recovery drive to finish ahead of the Sauber drivers, but overall it was another messy weekend for the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix race winner.
Lotus certainly moved into the midfield fight at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and the team will be hoping that further steps forward are made at the next round in Monaco.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic