Grosjean never expected to charge from 17th to 3rd

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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’.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.