March 14 2014 Latest news:
Michael Bailey , Formula One correspondent
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Romain Grosjean was left to apologise to Lotus for scuppering a title at qualifying on the front row for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
A saturated Silverstone saw a long delay in Saturday’s action as Formula One’s finest aquaplaned off the track – and Grosjean’s excursion, having booked his place in Q3, let him stranded in a gravel trap and ended his running for the day 10 minutes early.
Nico Hulkenberg’s five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change did at least promote Grosjean to ninth on Sunday’s British Grand Prix grid, while team-mate Kimi Räikkönen will start sixth despite a Kers issue.
“We made a slightly wrong decision by using the full wet tyres and I only had one lap in the restarted final qualifying session with the intermediates, otherwise I think it was possible to have gone faster,” said the Finn.
“We also had a problem with the Kers that we tried to fix during the red flag break. We’re in sixth, which is certainly not a disaster; but it could have been better.
“The weather makes it a bit tricky for everybody. It’s not easy, especially with the spray and this is even more difficult in race conditions when everyone is fighting for the same piece of track.
“On the plus side for the fans, it’s good fun to watch even if it’s not the nicest weather if you’re in a grandstand.”
Grosjean added: “It’s frustrating and I’m very sorry for the team as it looks like we had a strong car, but sometimes mistakes happen.
“My lap was not much different from the previous lap but it was different enough for me to go off and the car went backwards into the gravel and then it was stranded; it was very slippery.
“We deserved better, but we will do our best on Sunday to gain positions to get some good points. It will be a long race and starting position doesn’t mean as much if there are variable conditions.
“There’s also a benefit from not making it into Q3 as I have a fresh set of intermediate tyres. Let’s see what happens.”
Lotus head into Sunday’s race third in the constructors’ championship, with Ferrari breathing down their necks.