After two disastrous races at the beginning of F1 2012, Lotus F1 driver Romain Grosjean put in an assured drive in China to open his points scoring account.
The Frenchmen went for an aggressive two-stop strategy and climbed from tenth on the grid to sixth in the race. He looked after his tyres well in the middle stint, after an inconspicuous start, vaulting right into the thick of the battle for points.
He made his final set of medium tyres last from lap 32 until the finish, and took advantage of troubles that befell other drivers, including his team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen.
“It was a very good race, I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately I made a little mistake fighting with Mark [Webber] but overall it was a good performance. The car felt great and the team did an amazing job to give us such a big improvement from Friday, so I'm especially happy for the guys to be able to finish the race and get some good points on the board,” he said.
“To be up there fighting with McLaren and Red Bull is a great feeling and I'm happy to have got my season started properly.”
Lotus F1 team principal Eric Boullier was full of praise for his young driver: “It was a very good first full race for Romain. One slow stop and one mistake when fighting with Mark [Webber] for position meaning he ran on the marbles cost him two positions. However he recovered very well from this and his pace was very consistent."
But for that mistake when fighting with Webber, it could have been even better for the Grosjean and the man himself is certainly not afraid of aiming high for the rest of the season.
“We've had high hopes since P3 on the grid in Melbourne, and now after a few setbacks it's time to aim higher. There's always room to improve and hopefully from here we can aim for the top five and eventually podiums. We'll take things step by step but I'm feeling confident for the rest of the season ahead,” summed-up the 2011 GP2 champion.
by Philip Barclay