Lotus driver Romain Grosjean reckons a gearbox problem probably denied him the chance to get through to Q3 in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Grosjean finished the opening part of qualifying at the Yas Marina in tenth overall, before he had to pit in Q2 due to hydraulic issues.
The Enstone-squad then attempted 'hasty remedial work', and while he did re-join, his car ground to a halt, with the Frenchman reporting he had “lost everything”. That leaves him provisionally 15th on the grid, although he may yet incur a penalty, should he need a gearbox change.
“That was very frustrating, but it's the end of the season and I think my gearbox has been around the world about three times already!” he joked.
“I'll be doing everything I can tomorrow; I've asked the engine guys to turn it up to eleven so let's see what we can do!”
Asked precisely what happened and if he felt anything wrong with the car, he replied: “The first time we had to come into the 'box I didn't feel anything.
"I just got the radio message and then we tried again and I went into the hairpin and it went into false neutral – in between gears - and that is not usually a good sign.”
“I don't know exactly the detail and what broke to cause the gearbox issue. We managed a miracle again though in Q1 being P10. To be perfectly honest I think we were capable of going through to Q3, which we were not expecting at all. But the gearbox decided another way,” he added.
“We need to see which part broke [now]. There are things that we are pushing to the limit, sometimes they break, which is normal.”
Meanwhile, looking to the race, Grosjean isn't overly optimistic and fears Lotus could be overhauled by Toro Rosso in the Constructors' Championship, as the latter is only 9 points adrift.
“It is not one of the easiest tracks to overtake on. There is very little grip from the tarmac and the tyres are not biting. Every time you follow a car you lose the downforce. We will see,” he continued.
“It doesn't look very good for the Constructors' Championship, but nothing we can do better. I will [just] do my race.
“It doesn't change anything for me [if Lotus loses sixth] other than the pride of bringing the team there. It changes quite a bit I think for the team with the prize money. I don't know how much, but I think it is quite important for them.
“I will do my best.”