Romain Grosjean has admitted that he made a 'stupid mistake' at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix but says he now needs to move on as F1 heads to Korea this weekend.
The Lotus man again found himself caught up in a controversial incident after he clashed with Mark Webber's Red Bull shortly after the start, spinning the Australian to the back of the field and picking up a ten second stop-go penalty as a result.
Webber was clearly angered by the clash, calling Grosjean a nutcase
as he reflected on a missed opportunity to score strong points from the front row of the grid.
Speaking ahead of the Korean race this weekend, Grosjean admitted he had been trying to be more cautious at the start having already served a ban this season and said he now needed to move on from the clash and focus on the races to come.
“Since Singapore, I've been trying to be really cautious at the starts and it's been all the more frustrating to be involved in an incident in Japan,” he said. “When approaching the first corner, I was watching Sergio [Perez] on my left to make sure there was no contact with him. I didn't expect such a big speed difference between me and Mark [Webber] braking into the corner, we collided and that was it.
“It was a stupid mistake. Mark [Webber] came to see me after the race and was obviously not happy, but I apologised and we have to move on. I've sat down and looked at things again with the team; for sure it's still an area we need to improve. We're clearly focusing on this area for the next races.”
Despite retiring from the race late on, and despite his latest early race incident, Grosjean insisted there were still positives to take away from Suzuka
“Qualifying was certainly a highlight, and the way we all worked together as a team to dial in the set-up of the car which was not where we wanted it at the start of the weekend,” he said. “In qualifying we were easily through to Q3 and the car even had the pace to be further up the grid. I took the most satisfaction from how well me and my engineers worked through the weekend to extract more performance from the car.”
Team boss Eric Boullier also defended his driver ahead of the Korean race, saying Grosjean had tried to 'over-compensate' for earlier indiscretions.
“We could see in Singapore, when Romain was back after his race ban, that some other drivers were putting extra pressure on him at the start,” he said. “In Suzuka, Romain made a small mistake by misjudging his pace relative to Mark [Webber], which was a bit higher. We have sat down and spoken. We understand what has to be done. I think in Singapore to an extent and in Suzuka he was almost trying to overcompensate by focusing on staying out of trouble, which in the last race had the opposite effect.”