Lotus driver Romain Grosjean is still looking forward to getting a full Grand Prix race distance under his belt: after his early exit from the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, his Malaysian adventure scarcely lasted much longer.

"It felt like a perfect start off the line," said the Frenchman, reflecting on how events at Sepang had got underway. "I got a good jump on the others and with the KERS I managed to weave through the cars in front without touching anybody.

"Coming out of the first two corners I was up to third, which was an amazing feeling," he added.

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But once the cars hit the rain, it all turned pear-shaped for the GP2 champion and he found himself making contact with a certain former multiple world champion as the field bunched up in the deteriorating conditions.

In turn four Mark [Webber, Red Bull] managed to carry a bit more speed through the corner and edged in front," he explained. "Michael [Schumacher, Mercedes] tried to follow him through but there was not enough space so we touched and I spun."

That was just the start of it: over the next few minutes a powerful electrical storm rolled in and the track rapidly flooded.

"From there things became really tough," he agreed. "The visibility was so poor I couldn't see anything in front of me.

"We made the decision to stay out on the intermediate tyres but the rain got heavier and there was far too much water," he continued. "I had massive aquaplaning into turn five and unfortunately ended up going backwards into the gravel."

The car was immediately beached, leaving Grosjean futilely spinning his wheels. That proved to be the end of his day, with the team not allowed to recover the car to the pits and rejoin the race the race under the subsequent red flag conditions.

"Obviously, it's disappointing for Romain, as it's another DNF for him in the early laps of the race," said Lotus team principal Eric Boullier. "He had a very good start off the line, but the contact with Michael ruined his race."