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GP Week : Issue 183
After making appearances in the top three during free practice, it was another case of ‘win or bust’ for Romain Grosjean, who ended his Monaco Grand Prix by hitching a ride on Daniel Ricciardo’s Toro Rosso. Despite twice collecting the barriers at Sainte Devote during Free Practice Two and Three, the Lotus driver admitted that he was finding his car slightly ‘unpredictable’ and ‘on edge’, but was however unconcerned heading into the race. A damp qualifying session saw Grosjean misread the conditions and unable to generate appropriate heat into his slicks on the fast-drying track. This left Romain to start in 13th, but lost the position to Daniel Ricciardo at the start. From there Grosjean was unable to undercut the Australian despite pitting under the Safety Car that followed Felipe Massa’s accident. On lap 63, an ill-timed move from Grosjean out of the tunnel saw him launch over the top of the Toro Rosso’s rear wing; sending Ricciardo up the escape road. Ricciardo was unharmed in the accident, but both his and Romain’s races were effectively over; Grosjean being asked to retire his Lotus in the pits. After the race, Grosjean was cited no blame for the incident, but did allude to some frustration with Ricciardo that began on Saturday. "I was following him for 61 laps and he was struggling with his rear left tyres graining so he had no grip," said the Frenchman. "I was very close in the tunnel and I had followed his line for many laps and I was caught by the fact that he braked very early in the middle of the track. I think that we had the car to be in the top three but if qualifying goes wrong here the weekend is difficult. The most frustrating time was qualifying when I was blocked by Ricciardo.” Ricciardo himself was particularly disparaging of Grosjean’s move, saying simply over the radio “you can probably guess the driver.” Given 2013’s tyre degradation issues, one would assume that a driver having grip problems would begin to modulate their braking progressively during a race – particularly into the downhill run out of the tunnel. To then continue to follow Riccardo’s line with this knowledge was a perilous exercise at best for Grosjean; who struck up four incidences over the weekend. The final incident with Ricciardo was deemed to be Grosjean’s fault and earned him a ten-grid penalty from the stewards at the next race in Montreal. What the Lotus F1 Team does to curb Romain’s overzealous behaviour may be an in-house matter, but it could come in the form of third driver Davide Valsecchi. Lotus Romain positive 33 GPWEEK.com // 33 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> MONACO