On Friday, Romain Grosjean had looked like the most likely challenger to the Red Bulls during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but a troubling gearbox sensor issue and a bad vibration left him unable to do any better than seventh on the grid for the 55 lap race.

The Frenchman, who is on a run of three consecutive podiums, was held back by the problem that resulted in lower top speeds on the straights and a lack of full acceleration.

With Lotus running more rear wing than the majority of the field, to create additional downforce for the final sector of the lap, the issue was magnified for the Frenchman.

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"The problem with the vibration should be fine," the 27-year-old told the media, including Crash.net, "but we had an issue with the gearbox in qualifying and lost a bit of time in a straight line. I think that it was just a sensor problem."

If it was just a sensor issue there will be no need to replace the gearbox and take the resulting five-place grid penalty, with Grosjean aiming for another strong run on race day.

"It's not easy to start from P7 but you never say never and anything is possible," he said. "After qualifying in India I wasn't optimistic for the race but I ended up on the podium.

"For sure when you look at the lap time we should have been P3 which would have made things easier."

The change in Grosjean's fortunes of late means that he cannot be ruled out having another strong race and finishing on the rostrum once again, with a fourth row start giving him an opportunity to once again show just how much he has improved over the course of his second full season in F1.

by Stephen English at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi