Romain Grosjean says he’s hurting after throwing away a potential podium shot for Haas after crashing behind the safety car in a freak incident.

The French driver made an impressive charge up the order from last on the grid after suffering a gearbox hydraulics issue in qualifying which denied him the chance to set a time in Q1.

In the second safety car period, triggered by the Red Bull drivers crashing together at Turn 1, Grosjean was running in sixth place just behind eventual podium finisher Sergio Perez in the Force India when disaster struck.

Grosjean says he accidently moved a switch on his steering wheel which altered his brake balance and while swerving to get heat into his tyres behind the safety car he locked up his rear brakes and spun into the barrier.

The French driver was visibly frustrated by the crash and by seeing another strong position thrown away by an unforced error.

“This hurts a lot and I want to apologise to the team,” Grosjean said. “We were in the middle of an amazing race, starting last and running P6. Seeing Sergio Perez on the podium, knowing I was fighting with him, is very painful for all of us.

“It was going very well. The conditions were tricky, there was a lot of wind, the car was going left and right, pushing then not pushing.

“I was warming up my tyres and bumped into a switch that I’d moved by two positions. When I touched the brakes, the brake balance was locked rearward – it just locked the rear wheels and I spun.”

Grosjean’s crash at the Baku City Circuit leaves him point-less after the opening four rounds despite running inside the top five in Australia before Haas’s pit stop nightmare, loose bodywork wrecking his points charge in Bahrain and an untimely safety car in China ending his hopes for a top ten finish.

 

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