Lotus say Vettel, not penalties, spoiled Grosjean’s race

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The greatest damage to Romain Grosjean’s victory chances in the Hungarian Grand Prix was not done by his penalties during and after the race, according to Lotus.

The team believe the real harm to Grosjean’s hopes of scoring his first win in Hungary were done when he got stuck behind Sebastian Vettel.

Grosjean came close to passing Vettel at the start but the Red Bull driver gave him little space on the run to turn one, ensuring the Lotus stayed behind. Grosjean spent the next two stints in Vettel’s wheel tracks.

“It could have been better, yes, but we were not expecting to get stuck behind Vettel at the beginning of the race, to be honest,” team principal Boullier said to Autosport. “After that, the chance for Romain to win was off.”

Boullier added they were able to be flexible with Grosjean’s strategy because of how well the Lotus treated its tires. But as they tried to maneuver Grosjean into a position where he could jump Vettel, he ended up stuck in more traffic.

Grosjean picked up two places during the course of the race. One, for overtaking Felipe Massa off the track, resulted in a drive-through penalty. After the race he was given a further 20-second penalty for colliding with Jenson Button.

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

Photo: Getty Images
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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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