|© Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic/Lotus
After a weekend on the sidelines in Italy, Romain Grosjean is back in the hot seat for the Singapore Grand Prix and keen to put his learning experience from Monza into practice...
Obviously watching the race from the pit wall in Monza was not ideal; do you feel you gained anything from that experience?
I think for me, the main thing about Monza was being in the garage and feeling the support I had from the team. It was really nice and I think that’s something a driver needs. We’re a family here and it meant a lot to me. Apart from that, being on the pit wall with the engineers and looking at the data is always useful. You get another perspective on how the cars are performing, where the differences are, what can be improved and so on. I can still learn a lot from Kimi (Raikkonen) too; he has a huge amount of experience. As a team-mate he is both challenging and fantastic; challenging because he is so quick and has abilities I have yet to develop, but fantastic because he is also a great example to follow in the way he can switch his mind set so quickly during a race weekend to be entirely focused on the job. Apart from actually being in the car, I think the weekend in Monza was the best preparation I could have for Singapore.
The last few races have been a bit of a mixed bag for you it seems; what will be the key to hitting top form over the rest of the season?
I would say that since Hockenheim I haven’t really had the same connection with the car as I had previously. At the start of the season I felt very comfortable and by the time we got to Valencia the sensation I had in the car was just amazing. Whether it’s the tyres, the setup or something in my driving style I’m not 100 percent sure; we need to go through everything and find out. The grids are so close this year that any tiny thing can mean the difference between being at the front and sitting in the midfield. I’m determined to find that synergy with the car again in Singapore and carry it through the rest of the season.
Kimi has now moved up to P3 in the drivers’ championship; will this affect your approach if you are racing alongside him at any stage?
I wouldn’t say that for the rest of the season I’m here just to play a supporting role; if I have the opportunity to reach the podium, or even a win, then I will take it. Of course, I want the team to achieve the best results it can and if you look at the points difference between me and Kimi it would be foolish to think only of my own results. Let’s hope we can have a fantastic end to the season for me, Kimi and the team.
What are your thoughts heading to Singapore?
Singapore is a pretty special race with it being held at night; it makes a great show for the fans. It’s a pretty cool city. I haven’t got much experience of the circuit so far; my first race here was back in 2009 and that was a difficult weekend, but I’m looking forward to getting back in the car, learning the track a bit better and putting everything in place for the rest of the season. It’s another circuit, another race and a chance for me to get back out there and do my best. I want to qualify well, be as close to possible to Kimi in terms of performance and score points for the team in the constructors’ championship.
You’ve always seemed to go pretty well at street circuits; looking at the layout here, do you think this is a track that should suit both yourself and the car?
I think so yes. It’s a very high downforce track and that seems to suit us best as we saw in Budapest. In terms of the tyres I think we should be looking good too; it’s always an interesting race, so I’m looking forward to it.