Grosjean expecting difficult Italian GP for Lotus

1 Comment

Romain Grosjean is not expecting miracles for Lotus at next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, and is instead focusing on returning to the top ten at the Singapore Grand Prix in three weeks’ time.

The Frenchman has suffered a difficult season with Lotus thanks to the troublesome E22 car, but has risen into the role of team leader following Kimi Raikkonen’s exit at the end of last year. New teammate Pastor Maldonado is yet to record any points in 2014.

Speaking ahead of the race at Monza, Grosjean said that he expects Lotus to struggle at the high-speed circuit on the outskirts of Milan.

“I think that it will be tough for us; on paper it is not one of the races that we should do that well at,” he admitted.

“But as always we will be fighting hard and trying to get the maximum from the weekend, so that it gives us good momentum for the Singapore weekend later in September when we should be stronger and the track should suit the E22 a little better.

“We will have a one-off rear wing for Monza and the key will be to make the car as quick as possible from an aero point of view, so that we can get back some of the performance from our straight-line speed disadvantage. Then we have to manage the tire degradation.

“Also for us it will be tricky in the big corners like the Lesmos and the Ascari chicane because the less downforce you have then the more difficult it is to get good grip in the turns. It is a tough compromise but one I am sure that the team will get the best solution possible.”

The circuit should play into the hands of the Mercedes-powered teams thanks to its long straights that depend on a good top speed, much as we saw at Spa-Francorchamps.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.