Contender status in Valencia surprises Lotus’ Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean is all smiles ahead of qualifying and Sunday's race in Valencia. Photo: Andrew Ferraro

Romain Grosjean is all smiles ahead of qualifying and Sunday's race in Valencia. Photo: Andrew Ferraro

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Romain Grosjean admitted he is surprised how high his stock has risen in just seven rounds of the 2012 Formula One calendar.

The Frenchman has well and truly put to bed the ill-fated start to his F1 career he suffered in 2009 with several assured performances for Hethel-backed Lotus, off the back of his GP2 title last year.

And by bagging an impressive second place in Canada two weeks ago – his highest Formula One finish to date – Grosjean heads into this weekend’s European Grand Prix as a serious contender.

“It is probably a surprise for me too,” smiled Grosjean. “I must say that the team did a fantastic job so far and that is essential to achieve results.

“I have built a fantastic relationship with my engineers and that in turn is important to transform words into action. I think that in Barcelona we made a real step forward and then again in Montreal.

“And with even small steps you will come to a moment when you can stage the perfect weekend. And that can mean a win.

“But I still have blue eyes and brown hair. I’ve matured, but that is a fact of nature. I understand now a few more things. Probably you can say that I grew up, but I am in a completely different environment than back then in 2009.”

Grosjean again impressed compared to his team-mate, running quicker than Kimi Räikkönen during Friday’s free practice in Valencia.

But it is success in Sunday’s race that Lotus and Grosjean are both hoping for – and the Frenchman believes the Valencia Street Circuit represents as good a chance as any.

“On paper we look pretty good here. It is hot – that’s a good point for us – and hopefully we can keep this advantage and find a way to make it work,” said Grosjean.

“The easiest (way to have success on Sunday) would be to go for pole position, have a good start and be on your own and only react to what the others are doing. That is the fairy tale concept.

“Reality is that we have to work damned hard to get the car in a good shape for qualifying and then see what we can achieve in the race.”

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