Romain Grosjean’s incredible second half of the season continued with his best result of the season in second place in the United States Grand Prix. It’s the Lotus’ driver’s second career runner-up finish, having also achieved the mark at the 2012 Canadian Grand Prix.
Grosjean’s last five results – third, third, third, fourth and now second – are the five best results in Formula One behind only Sebastian Vettel’s run of form. The podium is his sixth of the season in total and to celebrate after the podium, he wore a cowboy hat in the official FIA press conference.
As Grosjean admitted on the podium, coming in-between the Red Bulls today was the maximum possible.
“Yeah a good race; good start as I got past Mark and almost got Seb, but our car was working very well today,” he said to former Lotus F1 World Champion Mario Andretti. “The guys working in Enstone, to be between those two cars is our best. We have a podium here in the United States. It is great to come here and be back at a beautful track. Next year we need to be one step ahead.”
The Franco-Swiss has also, officially, been confirmed as the Enstone-based team’s number one driver for 2014. This has been assumed for some time, realistically since Kimi Raikkonen’s announced departure to Ferrari, but never made formal until the podium this afternoon. A race for the second seat is occurring between several drivers.
Raikkonen’s stand-in, Heikki Kovalainen, ended the race 15th after some mid-race contact that damaged his front wing. It extends an unfortunate streak as it was his 62nd consecutive Grand Prix without a point, a record in the sport.
We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.
And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.
After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.
In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.
Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.
“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.
“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”
Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.
“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”
Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.