Grosjean: I’m very proud to represent Lotus and my guys that are working in Enstone 18 November, 2013 Second placed Romain Grosjean celebrates on the podium. The absence of Kimi Raikkonen from the Lotus team has galvanised Romain Grosjean, who has taken his game to the next level, as he inherits the mantle of team leader – the ‘first lap nutcase’ of a year ago delivered one of his most impressive performances of his F1 career to date – on his way to second place in the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. He spoke afterwards. Congratulations, your best effort of the season – sixth podium. You have represented Lotus in a very proud way. I guess number one in the team next year, right? Let’s make it official. So congratulations. Tell us about your race..? Romain Grosjean: Yeah, good race. Good start, I could pass Mark and almost got Sebastian. The car was working very well today. I’m very proud to represent Lotus and my guys that are working in Enstone. It’s a fantastic team. Being between those two cars is our best – everyone did a 100 per cent job. It means a lot to do a podium here in the United States. I like this country. It’s always good to come here, so glad, and looking forward to come back on that beautiful track and hopefully next year we’ll be one step ahead. Your sixth podium of the season. I think you just said in your own language that it’s one year ago that you became a father. It’s been an amazing turn around from last year to this year but obviously this was a race all about your start and particularly then about soaking up the pressure from Mark in the closing stages. Tell us about it. RG: Yes, exactly. We knew that the start would be crucial for us and then the race, if they were going ahead, they had too much speed for us, basically. They’re doing a fantastic job with a phenomenal car, as Seb says. But we can…he spoke about the spirit in his team and I think we have the same: every guy is happy to come in the morning and happy to work and check things. Y’know, drivers will always complain about this and this and [that]. They change it and it brings us to second at the end of the day. So, a very good start, a very good strategy, same as everyone else – I think I was just a little bit better on the Option. I said in my own language that one year ago my wife sent me a picture of a pregnancy test saying that ‘well done Champion, you’re going to be a Dad!’ So America brings me a lot of bliss and pleasure and looking forward to come back here. What was the strategy to resist to Mark, and Mark, what were the different things you tried with the KERS? RG: Well, I think the strategy was pretty clear. We were copying what Mark was doing. When he was pitting for hard tyres, we pitted for hard tyres, if he was pitting for prime or option. Then in the race I was just trying to make as much gap as I could before the DRS zone, so turns eight and nine are pretty hard to follow another car. I think we had a pretty good balance around there and then use all the power we could on the back straight, trying to avoid the DRS and then I know that by turns 17,18, 19 it was very difficult to follow me, so he was very close every time into turn One, but never had a go. I think the closest he was into turn 12 was probably ten meters. He pushed me wide once because I outbraked myself but as long as he didn’t seem to be too big in the mirror that was fine. Subbed by AJN. Related NewsBarrichello says he nearly replaced Raikkonen for final two racesBriatore: US GP showed that Lotus made very bad choice with KovalainenGrosjean rises to occasion and seizes role of Lotus team leaderLotus: It’s been another positive weekend for the teamDubai Expo 2020 bid logo featured on Lotus in AustinKovalainen: I’ve done everything to step into Kimi’s shoes, I’ve even worn his underwearLotus: Our long run pace looks good and we’re feeling quite confidentLotus: Kovalainen’s done a brilliant job, particularly getting used to driving a new carLotus: We were happy with the pace from both drivers, particularly on the long runsValsecchi: It’s a huge blow to lose out to Kovalainen who is not a great champion fools He will only get better. Congrats.