Grosjean surprised with P4 in Belgian GP qualifying, drops to ninth with grid penalty

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Romain Grosjean was surprised to qualify as high as fourth for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix, but will drop down to ninth on the grid after Lotus opted to change the gearbox on his car.

Grosjean posted a fastest lap time of 1:48.561 to finish fourth behind Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas in Q3, marking his best qualifying result since the 2013 United States Grand Prix.

Speaking after the session, the Frenchman admitted that he did not expect to be running so high up the leaderboard in qualifying.

“Today’s result is more than we had expected,” Grosjean said. “I gave everything that I had in the car for that last lap, I pushed hard from the beginning to the end.

“Being P4 is a really good effort. It is just so fast here. Going through Eau Rouge at 300kph, it feels like being a kid at Christmas. Every time you drive through it you have a smile on your face, it is so nice driving on this circuit.”

Grosjean will drop five places on the grid for tomorrow’s race thanks to a penalty received for changing his gearbox. However, he remains upbeat and optimistic about his chances at Spa.

“We will start from P9 tomorrow with the grid penalty and we will see what we can achieve from there,” Grosjean said.

“We have been better in race pace than qualifying pace so with a good set-up and hopefully some nice overtaking manoeuvres we can score some good points on Sunday.”

Teammate Pastor Maldonado qualified eighth on Saturday, and will move up to P7 on the grid thanks to Grosjean’s penalty.

“At the start of the weekend we didn’t have the best pace so the team has done a really fantastic job to get on top of the car and give me and Romain something really strong to use for qualifying, which is thanks to everyone’s hard work,” Maldonado said.

“I think we will be competitive tomorrow and with the right strategy we should be able to achieve something pretty good.”

The Belgian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.