|© Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic/Lotus
Back on track after a weekend away and following on from a positive result in Singapore, Romain Grosjean gives us the lowdown on his race weekend, how he is already looking ahead to the Japanese Grand Prix and just why Suzuka is so special…
A solid race in Singapore; how did it feel to be back on track?
It felt fantastic to be back in the car; Formula 1 is the thing I most love to do and it’s my job, so of course I missed it. Singapore is one of the toughest races of the year, with the conditions and the circuit being so challenging, and I’m very happy to have finished the race in a good position.
It was a weekend where the car wasn’t immediately delivering as you’d want it to; how difficult was it from your perspective?
Clearly we struggled at the start of the weekend and we were not where we wanted to be. It wasn’t easy to recover and we lost a bit of time, but I’m glad and very proud that the team worked so well and managed to find a solution to our problems. Sunday is the day that counts and we scored points with both cars. Of course we would like to do better - we are always aiming for the podium - but it is not a bad result considering the challenges we faced.
Towards the end of the race we saw you and Kimi (Raikkonen) on a very similar pace level and you let him past; tell us about that?
We were very evenly matched on pace but he is fighting to be world champion, and has a very good chance of achieving that. He is still a very, very good driver. Of course I wasn’t going to make it difficult for him as he is nearer the front of the championship than me. I was matching him on pace after I let him through however, so I was very happy with that.
What are your thoughts on Suzuka?
What a circuit! If we have a good base line set up then we can really enjoy the track. It’s an amazing circuit. I’ve only raced there once but I loved it so I’m really looking forward to going back. It’s difficult to pick one part of the circuit as your favourite. The first sector is brilliant, with turn 1, turn 3, 4 and 5 - it’s crazy! Then you go right under the bridge, then a small hairpin, and next up is the ‘Spoon corner’ which is a nightmare for the drivers. Then you’re flat out, DRS wide open, before the last chicane. A brilliant circuit. Also, I think it’s important to say the fans are absolutely amazing in Japan, and the atmosphere around the track is very special. I love Japanese cuisine, especially sushi, and when I cook at home I often try to put some spices in my dishes that are from Japan.
How difficult do you think the weekend will be?
There are many challenges over the weekend. We have to get the setup working perfectly as Suzuka is so demanding and exposes any weakness in the car. You have to complete all the sessions without making any mistakes because the run-offs are small and it’s easy to damage the car if you run wide or get a corner wrong. You need to get on top of the tyres as Suzuka never stops in its demands on them. I think it is a place where you need just a little luck. I hope we have some of that in Japan and everything comes together.