The majority of the headlines may concern the newly-crowned world champion Sebastian Vettel, but Romain Grosjean produced the stand-out drive of the day at the Indian Grand Prix to charge from seventeenth to third thanks to a one-stop strategy.
Pirelli had warned against stopping just once during today’s race, but Lotus ignored this advice and it allowed Grosjean to battle through the field to finish on the podium thanks to the low levels of degradation on the prime tire. However, it came as a total surprise to the young Frenchman.
“No, I wouldn’t have bet a penny on me being on the podium today,” Grosjean explained. “I think the race pace was brilliant and we did a very brave strategy as we did yesterday. I think it was not the time to be safe, and it paid off, we’re back on the podium. It’s quite amazing from where we started and just the race was alright, tried to go through the field. It was tough until the end, I didn’t know when the tires were going to go off but the team did fantastic, very proud to be here.”
Lotus had been running as high as second during the race, but Kimi Raikkonen could not quite pull off the one-stop strategy like Grosjean and the Finn began to drop off the pace towards the end of the race. With a few laps to go, Grosjean looked to pass Raikkonen but he was forced wide, prompting an angry exchange over the radio between Raikkonen and his team before the Frenchman eventually made it past.
“Kimi was in a difficult situation and I went for the outside and he didn’t see that point,” Grosjean said. “I knew I had to be careful to my engine, I knew Massa had much fresher tires behind so I didn’t want to lose too much time. The good point is that I’m here on the podium and we scored good points for the team and we still have a very strong car for the upcoming races.”
Raikkonen pitted on the penultimate lap of the race to salvage seventh place and set the fastest lap of the race. For Grosjean though, this is his third consecutive third place finish, elevating him to seventh in the world championship as Lotus look to catch Mercedes and Ferrari in the battle for second place in the constructors’.