Jean Alesi has said he wants to see some of the pressure on Romain Grosjean lifted after the GP2 champion secured his maiden F1 podium finish in Bahrain.
Grosjean became the first French driver in more than a decade to finish in the top three in an F1 event having followed Sebastian Vettel and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen home at the Sakhir circuit.
It gave Grosjean his second straight points finish after disappointing retirements in both Australia and Malaysia but Alesi said it was important that the French media and public didn't put too much pressure on their new hope and allowed him to show what he can do on track.
“My successor? I don't see it that way,” he told RMC Sport
. “It's promising but we need to leave him alone now.”
Alesi also added that it was important for France to support Grosjean when things aren't going to plan as well as when he secures strong results on track.
“I know what I'm talking about,” he said. “Since the beginning of the season there have been all sorts of comments about him. That isn't right. He needs to be calm and take the time that he needs to get on top of everything. When it's a podium, we're all happy but when it's a bad performance, we all have to be behind him too.”