Romain Grosjean admits to having acquired a taste for podium finishes after taking a hat-trick of third-place results in the last three grand prix.
The Frenchman overcame the odds to join Sebastian Vettel
and Nico Rosberg
among the silverware in India last Sunday, and says he is thinking of nothing less in Abu Dhabi this weekend as Lotus makes a late play for second place in the constructors' championship.
A storming drive through the field, after a strategic error left him 17th on the grid, confirmed Grosjean as one of the performers of 2013, but he insists that he won't rest on his laurels until the end of the campaign, as Lotus attempts to close the 28-point gap that exists to Mercedes with three races to run.
“I'll come [to Abu Dhabi] with the same philosophy as those last few races - to give and do my best,” he claimed, “I've finished on the podium in Korea, Japan and India, and without my engine problem in Singapore, I could have been on the podium there too... It's a good feeling being there. I only want to be scoring points for the team and you get the most points from being on the podium!”
The recovery at Buddh International will go a long way to securing Grosjean a spot in the Lotus line-up for next season – potentially alongside either Pastor Maldonado
or Nico Hulkenberg
– and is a drive the Frenchman rates amongst his very best.
“If you had told me after qualifying that I'd be on the podium in India I would have said you were crazy!” he admitted, “At the start of the race, our prediction was fourth place at best - if we could make a strong start and have a perfect race from there - so it was an amazing result and a great performance from the team.
“If we'd started further up the grid, then a fight for second would definitely have been possible, but Sebastian [Vettel] was just too quick. However, a friend of mine in the media said he would eat his hat if I made a one-stop strategy work, so I'm looking forward to seeing that!”
While he does not enjoy the Yas Marina layout as much as some others, Grosjean is confident that the Lotus package will again be competitive.
“For me, the layout is not my favourite – there are too many second gear corners for my liking – but not every circuit can be your favourite,” he conceded, “However, my history in Abu Dhabi isn't bad. I've been on pole position there in the GP2 Asia Series and finished second in that race, then won a GT1 racing World Championship round there.
“Last year wasn't the best weekend for me, as I qualified tenth and did not finish the race, but it was a great race for the team, so we know what is possible – and the E21 certainly seems to be liking every track at the moment! Our latest car with the revised Pirelli tyres seems to work very well and I can get a good performance from it at different circuits.
“My comeback to F1 was also during an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
practice session in 2011, so I've got some good memories of the place. It would be nice to have some more...”