|© Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic/Lotus
After a fighting performance to progress through the field at Silverstone, Romain Grosjean arrives in Hockenheim brimming with confidence for the tenth race of the year.
What are your thoughts heading to Hockenheim?
I like Hockenheim because I’ve raced there quite a few times. In fact, one of my first single seater races was there in Formula Renault 1.6 in 2003. Then in Formula 3, I did about eight races at the track because we went twice a year with the Euro F3 Series, so there are a few good memories and I’m looking forward to returning. Hopefully we’ll have some updates on the car, get pole position, a win and the fastest lap! The perfect weekend!
It looks like there will be good passing opportunities, so there should be good strategic opportunities even if you don’t qualify on the front row...
I think the chances of overtaking will be quite high. We need to see the DRS zone and so on, but looking at the layout it’s good for that and all the races here are usually interesting. I’m sure we can have a good race and deliver a strong result. The team have been working hard and finding solutions to improve our qualifying performances. In Silverstone it was cold and wet which made for a difficult session but we still made it through to Q3 quite strongly, even if we weren’t able to go out. I’m sure Hockenheim will suit us well.
Are you happy with the car come rain or shine?
Everything is fine and anyway you cannot change the weather, but to be honest I’d prefer weather like Valencia; sunny every day! You don’t have to worry about which visor, which clothes and so on - you know it’s going to be hot and I like the sun. Let’s see. I hope the summer will be with us.
Sunshine certainly wasn’t the name of the game in Silverstone...
It was a very long weekend. Very wet, and then dry by the end. I had my ups and downs, but I think that was one of my best races - along with Canada - because the recovery from almost last to sixth was amazing. The car was working fantastically well, while again with the tyres we managed something that no-one else I think was able to achieve. Those are very good points. Now we need to put everything together. We’ve been saying that for a while now, but I’m sure it’s going to come. If we can manage a good qualifying - in the front two rows - then I’m sure we can get the win.
How did you feel in the car when the wing was damaged on the first lap?
I realised quite early and the engineer saw it. So we took the right decision to come in early. But then we knew that the race was not going to be easy. I had to push to recover and make up some time, but on the other hand I knew that if I destroyed the tyres I’d have to do a conventional three-stop and that would kill the race for me. So it wasn’t easy, but here again we have been very gentle with the tyres and the car has been working very well. That was very good given the small amount of dry running time we had.
You say you were being gentle on the tyres, yet you were setting fastest laps...
Well that is the secret! The key is trying to go quick without killing your tyres. It is a mix of a few things - including the car for sure and your driving style.
We’re coming up to the halfway point in the season, what mark would you put on your half-term school report?
Well I’m a perfectionist in that I always want better, so I’m not 100 percent happy because not 100 percent has been right. But then, this is my first full season in Formula 1 and I’m talking about maybe getting my first win off the back of two podiums already, and what should have been three without a mechanical issue. I can also look at good races such as Silverstone where there was fantastic overtaking and fighting with the world champion. So I would say 7.5 out of 10.