Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has blamed a poor middle stint for failing to finish on the rostrum in the 2013 F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Frenchman made a strong start at the Yas Marina Circuit and moved up to fourth through the opening series of corners, settling in behind Red Bull's Mark Webber until the first round of stops. owever he then got stuck behind Adrian Sutil's Force India, and remained behind until the second round of stops.

Once in clear air, however, he then pushed to build a sufficient gap which allowed him to re-join just in front of Ferraris following his second stop on lap 37. Despite then consistently closing the gap to Nico Rosberg in the closing stages though, he missed out on a fourth consecutive podium finish by a margin of just 1.2 seconds at the chequered flag.

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"That was a pretty long race. I got a good start and made up two places in the first few corners, but after that I lost a lot of time behind the Force India. I could overtake him with the DRS, but he had much better top speed and could just drive straight back past at the next straight," Grosjean explained.

"That middle stint cost us the chance of a podium in the end, and on pace we could maybe even have pushed Mark for second place, but that's how it goes sometimes.

"It's a shame we couldn't make it four podiums in a row, but to come away with fourth place after a difficult couple of days is a decent result."

Alan Permane, Lotus' trackside operations director, meanwhile agreed that traffic cost Grosjean a shot at another podium. However, he was still impressed with the Frenchman's performance.

"It was a trouble free race for Romain - and he drove well to take fourth place," Permane remarked. "His progress was quite heavily hindered by traffic midway through the race and we didn't quite have the pace to challenge Rosberg in the closing stages, so realistically he achieved the best possible result on the day.

"What's especially pleasing is that he's gone from being labelled a 'first lap nutcase' to consistently gaining positions away from the line and through the opening sequence of corners at each race. We now head to Austin where we'll be working hard to make a return to the podium."