Lotus driver Romain Grosjean has been handed a 20 second race time penalty by the Hungarian Grand Prix stewards for his clash with Jenson Button during the race, but the penalty means nothing as the Frenchman keeps sixth place having finished 21.524 seconds ahead of seventh-placed Button.
Grosjean who appeared to be ridding himself of the ‘first lap nutcase’ tag, was in the wars once again in Hungary after starting third on the grid and looking on target for a top three finish.
The first of several incidents occurred heading into Turn 1 which aggrieved Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard said afterwards, “Grosjean was concentrating on only me, maybe he forgot that we are racing 22 cars. I was happy that he paid a penalty afterwards to compensate a little bit for his aggressiveness.”
There was also an overtaking incident with Felipe Massa which the stewards took a dim view of an overtake in Turn 4 which saw the Lotus leave the tarmac to complete the move and handed Grosjean a drive through penalty which cost him a sure podium finish.
“On Massa I thought I had at least two wheels on the white line of the track, I tried the outside and I pushed hard. But I haven’t seen the footage so far so I need to go a bit more into the details,” said Grosjean.
Lotus team principal Eric Boullier agreed with his driver, “He made a great move at a circuit where overtaking is difficult and he had no room to do anything else. For us the Stewards’ decision was harsh. ”
The Button incident was clearly a case of Grosjean misjudging his overtake into the Turn 6 chicane, and squeezing the McLaren onto the edge of the track and slamming wheels in the process.
Button appeared a tad shell-shocked by it all, “I seemed to be a target for a lot of the race! I know I’m slower but I seem to be a target with Sebastian [Vettel] and also with Grosjean. I’m going to see the stewards about it, but I think it’s pretty straightforward – I couldn’t go anymore left. That’s it really.”
“Unless I’m on the grass, which is obviously not where I want to be when I’m braking for a corner, he had no way of not hitting me. He obviously didn’t realise how narrow the circuit was at that corner,” added Button.
Grosjean accepted the blame for the Button incident, “With Jenson I was a bit too much on the left. The track goes narrow uphill and I was wider than that so I want to apologise. We were fortunate that none of us got any [damage], so that was good.” (GP247)
Subbed by AJN.