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Lotus ambassador Jean Alesi shares his thoughts on the Canadian Grand Prix…

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - 09:45

Jean AlesiHow did Romain Grosjean shoot from the midfield to second place in those dying laps? He was originally on a two stopper just like Vettel and Alonso.

It was a fantastic performance. When we see how Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso finished the race with no grip and terrible lap times, you appreciate what an unbelievable result it is for Romain. He looked fast the whole race, normal pace, but all the time he was saving his tyres so the tyres were in really good condition for the final 15 laps. Another four or five laps, I just wonder what could have happened. Lewis Hamilton was fast, but Romain was even faster. I tell you, it was a great race. The middle was a bit boring, but the end was sensational.

The Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve must hold a special place in your career, having taken your sole grand prix win there. What is it about the place that you love?

The layout is very exciting for drivers, because the walls are so close, as are the grandstands and the fans. The crowds there have so much passion, because of Gilles Villeneuve and the spirit he brings to racing in Canada. All the fans remember him, and I’m one of them. He gave me the passion I now have for motorsport.

Speaking of inspiring the next generation of drivers, did you see Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne wore a Jean Alesi-inspired helmet in Monaco?

That was fantastic. It actually made me very emotional because nowadays you think the current generation don’t care about what happened in the past, the drivers that raced in F1 years ago. It was a full surprise to me. I spoke to him the day before on the telephone and he told me he had a surprise for me, but I wasn’t expecting that. It was a lovely gift.

Romain outperformed Kimi Räikkönen last weekend, as he did in Monaco. Both drivers now have second places to their name. Is the pressure now on Kimi to deliver that first win of the year?

I don’t think so because there have been seven winners from seven races, and the points are all shared across the board. Almost anyone is capable of winning the championship. Romain and Kimi are both very capable of not only winning the next race, but winning the title. What impresses me is the consistency of speed from Lotus. We all wondered if they had enough budget to keep up in the development race against Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari, but they are maintaining their competitiveness very well.

How do you think the team will get on next week in Valencia?

It’s a strange circuit, but even if we look at the results at ‘normal’ circuits this year, like Barcelona where everyone knows a lot about the track, the winner was a surprise! Next weekend could be the same, and I’m hoping the surprise winner is driving a Lotus.