“I’ve been on the podium for the last three races; I like it there!”
A storming drive through the field from seventeenth to third made three consecutive podiums for Romain Grosjean, who heads to Abu Dhabi with four-in-a-row very much the target.
What do you think of the Yas Marina circuit?
It’s an amazing facility and it looks so impressive. It’s not used as much as some circuits over the course of the year so we know we’re going to get lower grip at the start of the weekend. For me, the layout is not my favourite – there are too many second gear corners for my liking – but not every circuit can be your favourite and the E21 certainly seems to be liking every track at the moment!
What types of memories do you have of Abu Dhabi?
My history in Abu Dhabi isn’t bad. Last year wasn’t the best weekend for me, as I qualified tenth and did not finish the race. It was however a great race for the team, so we know what is possible. I’ve been on pole position in the GP2 Asia Series and finished second in that race, then won a GT1 racing World Championship round there. My comeback to Formula 1 was also during an Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice session in 2011, so I’ve got some good memories of the place. It would be nice to have some more…
The Indian Grand Prix was quite some drive for you from 17th on the grid to the podium?
If you had told me after qualifying that I’d be on the podium in India I would have said you were crazy! At the start of the race our prediction was fourth place at best if we could make a strong start and have a perfect race from there, so it was an amazing result and a great performance from the team. A friend of mine in the media said he would eat his hat if I made a one-stop strategy work, so I’m looking forward to seeing that.
With a different outcome on Saturday, would the win have been achievable?
If we’d started further up the grid then a fight for second would definitely have been possible, but Sebastian [Vettel] was just too quick. Congratulations to him; he’s a nice guy, a great driver, and I hope to be challenging him for that World Championship in the future…
Does the schedule of a late race affect you?
I quite like it as it means you can get more sleep and I like to sleep! The logistics of the race are pretty good as you stay right next to the circuit and the facilities are amazing. On the Friday you don’t start the first practice until the afternoon, then qualifying and the race itself start pretty late in the afternoon too so it’s different from a lot of races we do. Everything seems to work well like this, but in reality when you’re in the car you’re not thinking about the time of day; you’re thinking about the lap time!
What about the heat?
It’s certainly a contrast to the weather in Europe at the moment! The cockpit of a Formula 1 car can be a pretty hot place even when it’s cold outside, but certainly Abu Dhabi is one of the hotter places we visit. It’s very important that you take lots of fluids throughout the day – not just when you’re in the car – as you can get dehydrated if you’re not careful.
What’s your target for Abu Dhabi?
I’ll come with the same philosophy as those last few races to give and do my best. I’ve finished on the podium in Korea, Japan and India. It’s a good feeling being there. Without my engine problem in Singapore I could have been on the podium there too. Certainly in this latter part of the season, our latest car with the revised Pirelli tyres seems to work very well and I can get a good performance from it at different circuits. I only want to be scoring points for the team and you get the most points from being on the podium!