|© Andrew Ferraro/LAT Photographic/Lotus
Romain Grosjean was handed a five-place grid penalty for the United States Grand Prix for an unscheduled gearbox change on Saturday.
The Lotus driver was the first to end his run in the third and final practice session ahead of qualifying after the unit in his car troubled the Frenchman’s outing. Gearboxes are required to last for five consecutive Grands Prix according to regulations.
“I will start P9, but this is racing,” said the 26-year-old who had qualified fourth.
“The guys did an awesome job to change the gearbox between FP3 and qualifying – which was a really tight turnaround – but we’re still in the top ten even with the penalty so that’s a good result.
“We’ve understood a difficult and evolving circuit and found a good set-up. I’m happy to be where I am and at least I will be on the good side of the track for the start,” he added.
Teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who was expecting a more difficult session, qualified fifth but will gain a place with Grosjean’s penalty.