On Friday Romain Grosjean had looked like the most likely challenger to the Red Bull’s during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. A troubling gearbox sensor issue and a bad vibration however left him unable to do any better than seventh on the grid for the 55 lap race.
The Frenchman, who is a run of three consecutive podiums, was held back by the problem which resulted in lower top speeds on the straights and a lack of full acceleration. With Lotus running more rear wing than the majority of the field, to create additional downforce for the final sector of the lap, the issue was magnified for the Frenchman.
Speaking to the media the 27 year old confirmed his problems during the session:
“The problem with the vibration should be fine,” said Grosjean. “But we had an issue with the gearbox in qualifying and lost a bit of time in a straight line. I think that it was just a sensor problem.”
If it was just a sensor issue there will be no need to replace the gearbox and take the resulting five place grid penalty. Speaking after the session Grosjean surmised his chances of continuing his strong run of form:
“It’s not easy to start from P7 but you never and anything is possible,” said Grosjean. “After qualifying in India I wasn’t optimistic for the race but I ended up on the podium. For sure when you look at the laptime we should have been P3 which would have made things easier.”
The change in Grosjean’s fortunes of late is that he cannot be ruled out having another strong race and finishing on the rostrum once again. The Lotus driver has put his past indiscretions behind him and matured into a complete driver capable of maximising the potential of his car. Starting from the fourth row will give him an opportunity to once again show just how much he has improved over the course of his second full season in Formula 1.