Monaco, the grand dame of F1® racing circuits showed again today why this most prestigious of races is still arguably the most challenging and certainly the most unforgiving race in the calendar.
For the Lotus F1® Team, it was a bag of mixed fortunes. Pastor had qualified in P15 but suffered a fuel pump issue on the starting grid and was unable to begin the race. Romain, beginning from P14, was also unlucky when a shunt from behind in the early laps caused the Frenchman to pit thanks to wheel rim damage. He then re-joined the race but at the very back of the grid.
When further mistakes by other drivers led to yet more collisions, Romain was able to use this to his advantage, ascending several places. He then battled hard, navigating well, and kept his concentration in an unpredictable race. Nudging his way forward and keeping out of trouble, he went onto sit comfortably in P11. As the competition heated up at the front of the pack, this inevitably led to yet more accidents. Subsequent retirements, pushed Romain up to P9, and into the points. He went onto to take the flag in P9, but
thanks to his P8 opponent having been reprimanded with a 5s penalty, this propelled Romain yet one more place, classifying him as the P8 holder, and awarding the team 4 points.
Romain Grosjean P8 E22-03: “It’s good to finish the race here for the first time in my career and it’s good to get some points too. It started as a pretty bad Sunday for us with a puncture for me on the first lap after Adrian [Sutil] drove into me. We swapped to the soft tyres but it was impossible to overtake on these so we came back in for the super softs. The safety car timing didn’t help us as we’d just gone out on the new tyres, but that’s Monaco. You can have thousands of misfortunes in the race, but still be in the points at the end!"
Pastor Maldonado DNF E22-01: “We don’t know yet precisely what happened. The engine switched off after 30 seconds. When we did out laps to the grid the car and the power unit were working well. We need to work to find out what the problem was. It is disappointing and I was expecting a solid race, we had a good strategy in place, I love this circuit where I have been competitive in the past. We have already worked hard on performance and reliability but today it was not to be. This afternoon we’re not happy but we are keeping focused on improving."
Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal: "It has been a disappointing weekend for us. Pastor’s car didn’t make it to the start of the race because of what looks like a fuel pump problem. Romain was hit from behind the first lap and got a puncture so we had to pit him early unfortunately. From then on, it was a long afternoon at the back of the field and in the end we were lucky with retirements and managed to score four points for an eighth place finish. We now look ahead to the next race and will work hard to correct issues we have seen here this weekend to get back up to an acceptable level of performance.”
The team now head to Canada for the 7th round of the Championship, which takes place in Montreal on 8th June 2014