F1 » 22 September 2013
Singapore Grand Prix: Grosjean: It’s good to be at the front
Romain Grosjean revels in Lotus tyre strategy to claim P3 in qualifying for Singapore Grand Prix as he seeks to establish himself as team leader for 2014.
Romain Grosjean has admitted that it feels good to be lining up on the first few rows of the Singapore Grand Prix, particularly after a tough start to the Marina Bay weekend.
The Frenchman was beset by niggling problems throughout practice, not least the steering problem that restricted his track time on the opening day, but bounced back to post a top five time and then bettered that with P2 on Saturday morning. Although the Lotus team was hampered by cooling temperatures in qualifying, Grosjean continued to impress, using his second and final run in Q3 to snatch third spot on the grid ahead of Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton.
“I think the car's been okay,” he insisted, “If we look at how many laps we did in the whole weekend so far, P3 in quali is not too bad. We knew we were strong this morning and, to be honest, yesterday didn't look that bad on the few laps we did - I think we had ten timed laps or something like that in total in the whole day, but we were something like P5 and the lap wasn't great.
“I think we got a little bit caught by the night coming on [in qualifying], and it was a little bit less quick than the fast time we expected in Q1 but, nevertheless, I think the team did a good decision about the strategy and the cut-off and everything. In Q1, it was tight because I guess the prime tyres were less quick than what we expected, but then we had a very good set of [option] tyres for Q2 and Q3 and we managed to have good runs. We could compare between the two cars, what they were doing and what we were doing and try to get the best of both. It's good to be at the front in this grand prix.”
With Kimi Raikkonen off to Ferrari next season, and only 13th on the grid in Singapore after suffering a back injury earlier in the weekend, Grosjean is the focus of the Lotus team in the first of the end-of-year 'flyaways'. The Frenchman, meanwhile, insists that he is not being distracted by speculation over his position in the team and who may be partnering him in 2014.
“I don't really care,” he shrugged, “Relations with Kimi has been always... not very 'speaky', and I just do my best on my own. I like the team, I'm sure they're quite happy with the way we work so far and yeah, I'm just focused on what I have to do and then we'll see for the future.”
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