|Beat team mate in qualifying||17/19|
|Beat team mate in race||5/7|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||491/651|
|Romain Grosjean 2015 form guide|
Romain Grosjean blew his team mate away and gave Lotus a richly-deserved podium finish. A few unnecessary mistakes were the only blot in a campaign which otherwise cemented his emergence as a team leader.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Grosjean’s season was that in spite of the fact he usually had to sacrificed one-and-a-half of the four hours of practice each weekend, he thrashed his team mate in qualifying by a greater margin than any other driver. Only twice was he outpaced by Pastor Maldonado in 19 races, and for all Maldonado’s faults lack of pace has seldom been one of them.
It took a while for Grosjean’s season to get going: the car broke in Australia (this soon became a familiar experience), then in Malaysia he was knocked into a spin by Sergio Perez having been third at one point. After that the points began to flow: seventh in China and Bahrain looked like the car’s limit at the time.
Canada was his biggest wasted opportunity of the year: from fifth on the grid he threw a result away by tangling with Will Stevens while lapping him. If this looked like a return to the wild Grosjean of 2012 there were few other indications that was the way things were heading, though he suffered a sizeable crash in Russia when he spun on the marbles.
Having persevered with a terrible car in 2014, Grosjean had the chance to remind the paddock what he was capable of in 2015. However Lotus’s financial situation in the second half of the year presented a new challenge.
Nonetheless Spa presented an opportunity which Grosjean seized magnificently. Having qualified fourth but been moved back to ninth by a gearbox change penalty, he worked his way forward in the race to retake his fourth position. Sebastian Vettel’s late drama handed him a fortunate – but nonetheless hugely deserved – podium finish.
Things never got that good again for the rest of the season, but a point had been proved.
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View race-by-race notes on Romain Grosjean
Australia – Was quick in the new Lotus when it ran, but lost most of the first practice session and retired at the end of lap one in the race with a power unit problem.
Malaysia – Q3 was the first time he’d driven the new Lotus in the rain which explains why the team chose to begin the session on full wet weather tyres. However they did not get their timings right and Grosjean missed out on setting a quick lap on intermediate tyres at the end. He was also penalised ten places by the stewards for skipping the pit exit queue in Q2. Another driver who didn’t pit during the Safety Car period, Grosjean climbed to third but was passed with ease by the Mercedes. He was later knocked into a spin by Perez which cost him the chance of a points finish.
China – Sat out first practice as Jolyon Palmer drove his car. Consistently in the top ten on the timing sheets all weekend and qualified a decent eighth. Kept his nose clean at the start and managed his tyres well throughout the race but could do nothing to help catch the Williams ahead. Crossed the line a solid seventh for his first points since Monaco last year.
Bahrain – Continued his record of getting the Lotus into Q3 at every race this year, but in the race his two-stop strategy appeared inferior to his team mate’s three-stopper – though Maldonado’s early exit from qualifying meant he had more fresh tyres. Nonetheless Grosjean repeated his China result of taking seventh place, still on the lead lap.
Spain – As usual it was Grosjean who sat out first practice while Jolyon Palmer drove the Lotus. Grosjean’s run in second practice was then disrupted by technical problems including a dramatic rear bodywork failure. Despite having reached Q3 in the first four races, after Friday he was pessimistic about their chances of getting beyond Q1. He made it, but couldn’t progress beyond Q2. Lost places early in the race after running wide at turn one, lost time when he overshot his marks at his second pit stop, and lost fourth gear as well, but took points for eighth.
Monaco – A five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change left him on the back foot, but he failed to out-qualifying Maldonado for the first time this year. Surprisingly his Lotus withstood the battering it took from Verstappen well enough for him to reach the chequered flag, but the time lost dropped him out of the points.
Canada – Lotus were quick from the word go in Canada and Grosjean could even afford to feel slightly disappointed with fifth on the grid. He said his out-lap preparation had been compromised after Lotus sent both cars out of the pits simultaneously for their final runs. He was on course to deliver fifth place in the race when he tripped over Stevens’ Manor while lapping his rival, picking up a puncture. That dropped him to tenth, which he held despite his five-second time penalty. To his credit, having blamed Stevens initially for the contact Grosjean later accepted responsibility.
Austria – Having enjoyed the luxury of getting to drive his car in first practice for a couple of races Grosjean was relegated to spectator status again this weekend and will continue to do so until Singapore while Lotus give more seat time to Jolyon Palmer. When he did get in the car he was hampered by reliability niggles, and having reached Q3 was unable to set a time. Got hung out wide by Sainz at turn three after the restart, which allowed Perez through, and shortly afterwards he ran wide at turn eight. A good points finish was still on, however, until his gearbox failed.
Britain – As usual he spent first practice watching Jolyon Palmer drive his car, but he lost more track time in the second session by spinning off at Luffield. Puzzled by his car’s balance in Q2, he registered his lowing qualifying position of the year. Pinned between Ricciardo and Maldonado at the start of the race, damage from the collision forced him out.
Hungary – Missing first practice was less of a disadvantage than usual compared to his team mate. Once again his was the only Lotus in Q3 and he also managed to save a set of soft tyres for the race. But he made a terrible start and finished the first lap in 16th, then collected a five-second penalty for an unsafe release from the pits. His race came alive after the Safety Car period, rising to sixth as those ahead hit trouble, before being demoted by Rosberg’s recovering Mercedes.
Belgium – His near-miss with Raikkonen in final practice compromised his flying lap, so his eventual speed in qualifying came as something of a surprise. Unfortunately for Grosjean a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change dropped him from the second row to ninth. He started well and came good in the middle stint, passing Ricciardo and Perez, which put him in contention for a podium place. He was gearing up to take a shot at Vettel in the final laps when the Ferrari driver’s tyre failed, handing him third.
Italy – Out-qualified Maldonado as usual but a first-corner tangle spelled an early end to his race.
Singapore – Reached Q3 for the tenth time this year which he admitted was “something of a surprise” on a track which didn’t flatter the car. He got away poorly at the start, not helped by Verstappen stalling in front of him, and ran into trouble while trying to stretch his tyres out at the end of the race. After dropping out of the points the team tactically retired his car to save its gearbox for Japan, amid doubts over how many spare parts they have.
Japan – Not for the first time this year Grosjean surprised himself by getting into Q3. His race was a straightforward affair to begin with, though he lost a place to Hulkenberg early on. But at the end he was having a hard time with his tyres. “It seems the new Pirelli limits hurt us more than our rivals,” he said.
Russia – As usual there was only one Lotus in Q3 and it was Grosjean’s. Race day turned sour quickly, however: he picked up front wing damage in the melee at turn two, then on lap 12 he got onto the marbles at turn three and crashed heavily into the barrier, fortunately without sustaining injury.
United States – Another frustrating weekend in which he chalked up yet another qualifying win against his team mate but his race was ruined by a rival on the first lap.
Mexico – Terse radio messages throughout practice and qualifying indicated Grosjean’s deepening dissatisfaction at Lotus. He was consistently strong through the first two sectors but in sector three only the Manors were slower than him in qualifying. Despite his downforce deficit, Grosjean brought the car home for a point.
Brazil – Understandably affected by the events of Friday in Paris, Grosjean nonetheless was Lotus’s highest qualifier as usual, though a spin prevented a better result in Q2. He got his head down during the race, passing his team mate and Verstappen en route to eighth.
Abu Dhabi – A gearbox problem in qualifying meant no Q3 appearance in his last race for Lotus – and a five-place penalty. He therefore ran the same strategy as Vettel, starting on softs and switching to super-softs at the end. He was able to re-pass Sainz and Kvyat but not Massa’s similarly-engined Williams.
Over to you
Did very well with the Lotus this year, and beat Maldonado soundly, included in qualifying.
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