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F1 Paddock Pass: British GP Friday Edition (VIDEO)

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Another special Friday edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass comes to you today from the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Valtteri Bottas led both first and second practice sessions on Friday, but unfortunately for him the Mercedes driver required an unscheduled gearbox change. Like teammate Lewis Hamilton in Austria last week, it comes with a five-spot grid penalty and takes him out of pole contention in advance of qualifying.

This bit of news followed the two sessions and the team member press conference, as NBCSN pit reporter and insider Will Buxton catches up with a number of people on the Friday.

Those present today for the FIA press conference were Christian Horner (Red Bull), Vijay Mallya (Force India), and Claire Williams (Williams) in the first part, and then Cyril Abiteboul (Renault), Andy Cowell (Mercedes) and Jonathan Neale (McLaren) in the second part.

In case you missed Thursday’s edition or want to see it again, it’s linked here.

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.