After a Japanese Grand Prix where he led for almost half of the race, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean heads into the remaining four rounds of the season determined to let the good times roll and itching to score his maiden win at the pinnacle of the sport – he spoke ahead of the race weekend at Buddh International Circuit.
Your performance in Japan was pretty fantastic; how are you feeling heading into the remaining four races of the season?
I’m feeling really good with the car, my confidence is getting higher with every race and I’m very happy with the team, so I’ll keep working hard to improve the areas that need improving and we’ll keep pushing for top results right to the end of the season.
How good was that race start in Japan?
The start was fantastic; the clutch kicked in, I put my foot down and whoosh! It was superb to go past both the Red Bulls like that and it’ll be one of my best memories of the year. I saw Mark [Webber] in my mirrors and started to pull away which was a big surprise in itself, so I was screaming “come on baby, let’s go!” in the cockpit. After the first lap I honestly thought it was going to be my day, but that first win will come soon…
How wide were you driving your car to try to keep the Red Bulls behind you?
You never want to concede a place, but when you’re leading the race or fighting for a podium position you can find ways to make your car very wide! Sebastian [Vettel] had a lot more pace than me but we were able to fight a bit more in the battle with Mark [Webber]. It’s a shame we caught the back markers when we did as I think we’d have had an even stronger fight if it wasn’t for them.
What are your thoughts on the Buddh International Circuit?
I like it. I first visited the track as third driver for the team during the inaugural race weekend in 2011 and was really impressed by the facility, then of course I drove it for the first time last year. The layout includes a nice mix of corners with a bit of gradient change which is always a good thing. There are some decent straights with wide corners at the end of them to help with overtaking, although it’s still not the easiest place in the world to pass somebody. Then there’s the linked Turn 10 / Turn 11 combination, which is a bit like Turn 8 in Turkey in that it seems to go on forever. It’s quite a fun track to drive.
What are your expectations for the Indian Grand Prix?
Our car is really performing well at the moment so I think we could be strong again. It’s fair to say we struggled there a little last year with finding grip and getting the right setup for the cars, so hopefully we can perform better this time. The tyre allocation was quite hard for the track in 2012, but this year it’s softer which should help us and make for better racing.
What do you think of India as a country?
It’s certainly a different experience from a lot of the places we visit and it’s great to see a different culture. I have a great love for cuisine so I’m always interested in local food, and there are so many interesting dishes, spices and ingredients in India.
How much are you looking ahead to 2014?
Right now I’m working on doing the very best I can at each remaining race in 2013 and I think that’s the best approach for now. As soon as the season’s over I’ll get a little rest and recharge my batteries, then we’re back to see the new cars launched and to start testing them. It will be a very interesting challenge with all the new rules that are coming in for next season. A new area is coming for the sport and that’s always very exciting.