Grosjean: Bahrain is going to be even better
18 April, 2012
Apr.18 (Lotus) Romain Grosjean achieved the best result of his Formula 1 career in China, just the tonic he needed after a difficult start to the season. Now, the Frenchman is looking to carry that momentum to Bahrain.
How did it feel to score your first points in Formula 1 last weekend?
I’m very pleased for myself, for the team, for all the hard work we’ve done. We deserved finally a good result. We did an amazing job to recover from our free practice pace, which was not that good, but at the end of the story we got back where we should be.
As Kimi showed, it was a strategy which was very marginal on tyres, how was that from behind the wheel?
I knew it was going to be tight for tyres and did my best to save them. It’s always difficult when you are on a risky strategy to the cars coming from behind you. The McLarens and Red Bulls were attacking with new tyres so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
How nervous were you at the start of the race?
My start was very good, but then Fernando (Alonso) went on the right side and I was blocked behind him. I couldn’t do much. Then unfortunately Felipe (Massa) came from the outside, a good move from him, and got in front of me. He held me off for all the first stint, which was not very good for me or my race, but then the second stint was amazing.
What about the rest of the race?
The pace was really good. I started the third stint the same and then we caught back to Felipe (Massa) again. Kimi was behind Sebastian (Vettel) and myself and then Jenson (Button) joined. It was very tight between us and difficult to overtake. And then the guys with new tyres came in the middle. You can always say that without Felipe (Massa) holding us maybe it would have been a different story, but anyway we knew we had to take care of the tyres. The car felt very good today and it gives me a lot of confidence for Bahrain.
You seemed to be in traffic a lot of the time in Shanghai?
It’s really frustrating not to be able to overtake! I think overtaking was quite tough on Sunday, even with the very long straight. It was really difficult for everybody. I was blocked behind Kamui (Kobayashi) and I think my pace was much better than what I was doing, but this is part of the race. You know sometimes you will have some traffic and sometimes be in free air. The strategy guys do their best to give you some free air and some laps to do by your own.
Overall, how do you assess your first points finishing performance in Formula 1?
I think we had more or less everything right with just some small mistakes. Next time is going to be even better.
You’ve experienced Bahrain before in the 2008 GP2 Asia series; does it bring back good memories?
Definitely. I raced there with the ART Grand Prix team and we took pole position, fastest lap and the win – it’s always nice to get a full house! I’ve also got quite a lot of experience there from 2010 when I was a test driver for Pirelli, so hopefully this will help me get up to speed quickly in the E20.
The layout of the circuit has been altered since you last drove there, so there will surely be some learning still to do…
It’s true that the configuration has changed, but the 2010 layout was only used for that season, and will return to its previous format for this year. I guess I’m quite lucky really, as I’ve driven the track in both forms so there will be no problem at all there.
Do you think you will enjoy racing a Formula 1 car at the Bahrain International Circuit?
Whether you enjoy driving at a track depends on the car. With a good car you enjoy the track, with a bad car you don’t! Bahrain is a good track. It has some big braking which I quite like, some interesting changes of direction like the double-left in the middle of the racetrack… I think the E20 will be nice there. The balance we have is pretty good and I’m sure we can achieve something strong.
What are you hoping for at the next race?
I want to be able to put a proper qualifying and proper race all together. I think the car will be good there. The weather should stay the same throughout the weekend – hopefully! Let’s see what we can do.