Grosjean: Always fantastic to be on the podium and the top step is always our target

Romain Grosjean targeting at least a podium in Brazil but a first grand prix win is his real ambition

Romain Grosjean targeting at least a podium in Brazil but a first grand prix win is his real ambition

After a standout performance in Austin, Romain Grosjean looks ahead to the season finale Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos, where he goes hoping to end the year on a high for Lotus.

Tell us about Interlagos; is it a track you like?
It’s a fantastic track; there’s really no part of it that isn’t great. It suits my driving style so I’m really looking forward to it. The E21 has been performing really well this year and there’s no reason to think it won’t be a great car once again in Brazil.

Is there a specific part of the track you like the most?
Everything! It’s a fantastically challenging track which never seems to let you relax. Even the main start-finish ‘straight’ isn’t boring as it starts uphill with some interesting camber, then gradually turns before finishing at the downhill Turn One where it’s so easy to out-brake yourself. If I had to pick favourite parts of Interlagos, I would say the first and last corners. The first corner is really technical and punishes you if you get it wrong, while the last corner is so fast and really puts quite a strain on your body. As a driver I really enjoy these corners. It’s one of the real classic old-style tracks so it’s very hard to pick out a single element; I love it!

Romain Grosjean on the podium with Austin race winner Sebastian Vettel

Romain Grosjean on the podium with Austin race winner Sebastian Vettel

How difficult has it been taking the fight to the Red Bulls over the last few races?
They have a very fast car, of that there is no doubt! Sometimes we get a sniff of being able to chase Seb [Vettel], but now he’s got the Championship in the bag he’s got some additional confidence and speed which makes it all the more difficult! Being able to chase and lead just one of the Red Bulls is really quite some achievement for the team and I’m so grateful to everyone at Enstone for all their hard work throughout the season.

Why do you think the team is performing so well at the moment?
The whole team at the track and back at Enstone [is] doing an amazing job. The spirit of these guys is awesome; I really can’t say enough about them. They come to the track or the factory having had just a few hours’ sleep after the late night’s work the previous day, but they’re always happy to do anything they can to get the best from a weekend. We drivers are always wanting more from a car, and they never stop trying to make that happen.

You had quite a fight with Mark Webber in Austin?
You know that Mark is very experienced and he’s never going to give up, so that certainly puts the pressure on. Equally, it gives you very good motivation as you know there is no option to make a mistake as he will just take the place. It’s really satisfying racing with such a good competitor, and also very satisfying when you’re the one who crosses the finish line ahead.

Romain Grosjean in the thick of things during the US GP

Romain Grosjean in the thick of things during the US GP

Weather is usually quite a talking point in Brazil, with the altitude playing a factor. How will you approach the weekend?
To be honest the weather and altitude is not something we can change and therefore we just have to deal with it. We will plan our strategy well and just aim to be in a position to fit the right tyres at the right time. The good news is that Brazil is closer to our normal time zone, so jet lag will be less hard to cure when we go back home!

What do you think of São Paulo and Brazil in general?
It’s a great place to end the season and I know the crew likes visiting there. It’s been a long year, so I think everyone is really looking forward to the end of season party which our sponsor Burn is going to hold; that should be a great night! Brazilian people are very friendly and there are some great places to eat. We’ll have a team meal with everyone before the track action gets underway and that’s a pretty good way to say thank you for everyone’s efforts throughout the year.

How would you like to end the 2013 season?
Well it’s always fantastic to be on the podium and of course the top step is always our target. We won’t know how well we and our opposition will perform until we’re out on track, but we’re certainly pushing to do the very best we can.

Subbed by AJN.